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Will A.I. 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 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 others 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 are 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 any company's workforce? Who will be at the top of his list, and who will be further down. Notice we didn't say the bottom of the list. That's because we 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 + Repetitive Jobs

Repetitive and task-oriented occupations are at the highest risk of automation across all workforce levels, from the entry-level employee to the senior manager in the office. Everyone with standardized tasks at work is at high risk of seeing their workload and paychecks 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 in regards to how you should handle workflows.

2. There are standardized inputs, processes, 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 + Analysis Drive 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 primary data and analysis-driven jobs, which require workers to pull up a set of information from a database to either: answer a question, make a suggestion, refer to something else, or inquire about a number of other things. All of these actions required securing a piece of data, analyzing it, and then doing whatever was required for your particular job.

Some titles these data and analysis-driven jobs to have:

  • Customer Service Representative

  • Telemarketers

  • Loan Officers

  • Real Estate Agents

  • Paralegals

  • General  Practitioner Doctors

  • Associate Lawyer - think due diligence work and other paperwork.

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.

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