The evidence is everywhere from your vacuum cleaner to they way you purchase groceries at your local supermarket — machines are getting smarter and more efficient at the tasks once reserved for humans. Robots have already entered the workforce as telemarketers and cashiers, but pretty soon they’ll be poised to take over a lot more occupations as new designs emerge and the prevalence of autonomous mechanical technology increases. If you find yourself lying awake at night worried about whether or not your chosen profession will be on the chopping block in the coming years, have a look at this list of few more jobs that are set to fall victim to the robot uprising.
5. Warehouse and Factory Workers
Robots are very good at repetitive tasks that don’t require them to quickly adapt to new situations. Designers and engineers are still grappling with methods of getting robots to operate more like humans in the workplace — adjusting to dynamic environments, improvising reactions, and changing behavior as the situation requires. This is why robots are perfectly suited to working in a factory or warehouse where they can be programmed to do one task in the same environment over and over again. UPS is one company that has already started incorporating robots into their workforce. At US distribution centers, 7000 UPS packages are sorted every minute by “narrow AI” bots whose only job consists of lifting boxes of a specific size and placing them on a conveyor belt.
Robot vacuum cleaners like the Roomba have already been adopted by households to help keep floors neat and tidy, but soon other robots could be could joining them in the fight against filth. Winbot is a robot that can polish windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces. The compact, square droid can vacuum-attach itself to a vertical pane and then scuttle around (much like a Roomba) to scrub just about any surface clean. Although it’s easy to picture robots like the Winbot replacing high-rise window cleaners who would otherwise have to do the risky job themselves using ropes and harnesses, other more complex tasks, such as cleaning an appliance or putting objects away, still require fine motor skills and will likely be left to humans for the time being — so yes, you still have to clean your room.
3. Security Guards
Any job that involves a lot of repetition is a good fit for a robot. Which is why we’re now starting to see them put into action in various automated security systems that do things like check door locks and monitor hallways for signs of activity. In 2014, Microsoft even announced that they had been playing around with a Dalek-like robot patrol force. These 5-foot-tall sentries are equipped with LIDAR remote sensing technology and roam the company’s Silicon Valley campus scanning for intruders, verifying license plates, and probing social media activity for any signs of danger in the area.
2. Construction Workers
The assembly of massive objects like airplanes and container ships could be on its way to becoming entirely automated. This is due largely to the nature of the work as the vast majority of construction projects follow very well detailed plans involving a lot of manual labor and repetitive tasks — pick up part A, fit it together with part B, screw it together using part C, etc. Of course, initially there would still need to be a few humans kept around to repair and maintain the robot builders.
Many people might not realize that various agricultural work is already being carried out by robots who work alongside humans. Driverless tractors, for instance, use GPS and are programmed to independently observe their position, decide appropriate speed, and avoid obstacles while carrying out their tasks. Drones have also been used for monitoring purposes but are expected to play a much bigger role in the coming years as they could easily be employed to fly up and down rows of crops performing tasks like planting seeds, distributing fertilizer, spraying insecticide, and monitoring plant growth.