Will Artificial Intelligence Replace Me at Work?

As articles about artificial intelligence replacing workers from the office to the factory floor we are all asking the question. Am I a target? Is my employer going to replace me with a robot or some other type of artificial intelligence? Below you will find some of the key characteristics automation engineers look for when they set out to automate a job in the office or in the field. 



Am I Replaceable?

The short answer is yes. Every worker is replaceable to a certain degree. Some workers are replaceable by 5% while other are replaceable by 100%. This is just a simple fact about the technological innovations, workers will have to do less of the old work and do more of the new work which we ideally be developed as new industries arise. However, for you to easily transition into the job of the future you have to update your job skills of the past.

 So what are the key characteristics an automation engineer will look for when analyzing the workforce of any company? Who will be at the top of his list and who will be further down. Notice I didn't say bottom of the list. That's because I don't want to give anyone the false security of thinking that their job is somehow safe for automation and being impacted. As time goes by and technology improves further by automating other jobs, soon, virtually every task will have its own line of code.

Key Traits of Job at Risk of Automation:

  • Task Oriented + Repetitive

  • Driving Based

  • Analysis and/or Data Driven

But let's dig a litter deeper so you can get a better understanding of why these traits in occupations lead to higher risks of automation.

Task Oriented + Repetitve Jobs

Repetitive and task oriented occupations are at the highest risk of automation across all levels of the workforce from the entry level employee to the senior manager in the office. Everyone with standardized tasks at work are at high risk of seeing their work load and pay checks reduced over the coming years. 

It's also important to note this move towards automation will impact workers doing physical and cognitive jobs alike. It might be even more surprising when it becomes clear that higher paid jobs are often bigger targets for automation because of the greater cost savings relative to lower paid workers. 

So what does it mean to have a Task Oriented + Repetitive Job? It means this:

  1. You have a defined role at your job on regards to how you should handle work flows.

  2. There are standardized inputs, process and outputs.

    • Input: You receive an application

    • Process: Evaluate the applications

    • Output: Produce an accept, reject or reevaluate etc. for the applications.

  3. You do the same tasks in the same way no matter how frequently or infrequently to be compliant with company policy.

Data and Analysis Driven Jobs

Before you ignore this one because you don't have the work data or analyst in your job title, think again. Most jobs in the modern economy are primarily data and analysis driven jobs which requires workers to pull up a set of information from a data base to either: answer a question, make a suggestion, refer to something else, or inquire about an number of other things. All of these actions required securing a piece of data, analyzing it an then doing whatever was required for your particular job.

So titles do these data and analysis driven jobs have:

  • Customer services representatives

  • Telemarketers

  • Loan Officers

  • Real Estate Agents

  • Paralegals

  • General Practitioner Doctors

  • Associate Lawyer - think due diligence work and other paper work

  • etc.

The point is that so many of the jobs that we think are safe like doctors, loan officers, paralegals and so on, are in fact at a high risk of automation by artificial intelligence.

Below you will find a detailed and interactive map which you can see the impact of automation across 750 occupation in the United States. This map is current as of mid 2017 and will be updated as new technologies influence the rate and impact of automation.