Is Your Job Safe from Robots?

I’ve thought about this issue before, but what prompted me to write about it today was a poll I came across that was sponsored by Cards Against Humanity (CAH), and conducted by the polling firm Survey Sampling International.

CAH refers to the poll as “Pulse of the Nation”, and asks the types of questions you wouldn’t see in most surveys.

Questions included the following:

  • If you had to choose, would you rather be smart and sad, or dumb and happy?”
    • 53% said dumb and happy
  • do you think it is likely or unlikely that robots would take their jobs within the next decade.
    • 80% said unlikely
  • is it OK to pee in the shower?
    • 57% said it was unacceptable
  • is rap music?
    • 66% said yes

For each of the questions, there was then follow-up questions, breaking down the responses by various demographics. For example, the question about dumb and happy was broken down by political affiliation, and the question about robots was broken down by how many Transformers movies the respondents had seen.

You can check out the full set of results here.

But the question that peaked my curiosity was the one about robots replacing jobs. I asked my oldest son who is home for the holidays (yay!) if he thought any jobs were safe from being replaced with a robot.

We tried throwing out a few possibilities, but it seemed like for each job we thought was safe, there was a counter-argument to suggest that maybe such a job could be done by a robot.

So I decided to search online to see what has been written, and I came across several articles with titles such as “10 Jobs That Robots Can’t Do, Yet”, or “Jobs that robots are least likely to take over”. I wanted to see if there was any agreement between the articles – were there any jobs that everyone agreed on would be safe from robots?

I did not find any job that was mentioned in every one of the half-dozen or so articles I scanned, but there were a few that were mentioned multiple times.

Those jobs were the following:

  • doctor
  • counselor/social worker
  • occupational therapist
  • nutritionist
  • journalist/investigative reporter
  • elementary school teacher
  • professional athlete
  • politician

As you can see, many of the jobs are health-care related, so while there have been great technological advances in health-care, there is still a need for that human touch

I should note that there are also several articles online that note what jobs are most likely to be replaced by robots, but that’s too depressing to think about. Fortunately, I did not see college teacher on any of those lists. As long as that holds true for about the next five years, then I’m a happy camper.

At that point, hopefully universal basic income will kick in…

 

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Jim Borden

Accounting Prof. at Villanova; happily married for 30+ years; father of 3 outstanding young men; vegan; interests: fitness, creativity, education, blogging, social media.

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