Will a Robot Steal Your Job in the Future?

Read on ecnmag.com.

For every one time I use a self-checkout, I hear ten evil robots laughing off in the distance. And every time I hear DING DING DING HELP IS ON THE WAY, I lose it. No, my case of water does not fit in your plastic bag that barely holds a cereal box. I am not walking out of here unnoticed with 32 bottles of water (though I guess I applaud the checkout system’s efforts to frame shoplifters). What irks me is the time it takes for an available attendant to come over and confirm I am in fact not trying to steal the case of water. I’m not impatient, but I do get annoyed when I see systems aren’t working the way they should be.

The robot cashier, who was intended to replace a paid human employee, just created the need for two additional human workers—one to attend to the suspected shoplifter and one to attend to the abandoned customers in said worker’s checkout line. Whoever hired this robot needs to reevaluate its algorithms.

So, could a robot steal your job, too? Curious what other annoying robot interactions await in your future?NPR has a new tool to check the probability that you’ll be replaced by a robot in 20 years.

Drawing upon recent advances in Machine Learning and Mobile Robotics, University of Oxford researchers took a shot at estimating how technology will affect the future job market. The researchers developed amethodology to estimate the probability of computerization for 702 occupations. Based on these estimates, they examined expected impacts of future computerization on U.S. labor market outcomes, analyzing the number of jobs at risk and the relationship between an occupation’s probability of computerization, wages and educational attainment. According to their estimates, about 47 percent of total U.S. employment is at risk. All hail the robots.

Seems a little unsound to me. But the researchers admit these estimates are rough and likely to be wrong. So, will your job survive the robot apocalypse? Plug in your occupation to this algorithm and let a robot tell you your fate.

As for me, looks like I’ll be around for a while, so expect more robot rants in your future.


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