As technology forges ahead in its unstoppable march toward the future, many things we’ve done for hundreds of years will change dramatically — including work. It’s no exaggeration that many of the entry-level jobs people get paid to do today will be taken over by robots, machines, or artificial intelligence. It’s already starting to happen. Here’s a look at some of the jobs technology has already started to overtake.
The supermarket of the future will be hit hard by job-taking robots. Heck, it’s already happening. Many grocery stores have self-checkout lanes where customers can scan their products by hand, swipe a credit card, and be on their way — all without interacting with a cashier or bagger.
Looking ahead, even that technology could seem primitive in the coming years. Amazon is opening an Amazon Go store that will use a new kind of process that doesn’t require checking out at all.
All you’ll have to do is scan a code on your phone as you walk in the door. Once inside, you shop like normal, placing products in your bag or cart. As you do, a combination of software and sensors adds the items to a list in your Amazon Go app. When it comes time to check out, you simply walk out the door. Amazon charges your account automatically without any cashiers — or time-wasting checkout processes — involved at all.
As similar technology spreads to other retail stores, a whole lot of jobs will become nothing more than a memory.
You’ve probably heard about Google’s self-driving car initiative, which has been racking up thousands of miles out West. Uber has a similar program in place that will eventually do away with human drivers. The self-driving truck startup, Otto, recently drove a truck full of Budweiser 120 miles to deliver it in Colorado.
Whether you’re a truck driver, a taxi driver, or anyone else who earns a living by controlling an automobile, your job may be in jeopardy sooner rather than later.
3. Factory worker
Contrary to popular belief, foreign factories aren’t to blame for most of the vanishing manufacturing jobs in the U.S. You can thank robots instead, says Associated Press’ The Big Story. According to a study at Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research, a full 88% of lost factory jobs went to robots and other processes that eliminate the need for flesh-and-blood employees.
The reason? They’re more productive. As the number of factory jobs continues to decline in the country, factory production is actually going up. Robots, it would appear, just do the job better than humans.
Telemarketers are among the many people who might want to look to other fields for their next job. That’s because robots have begun encroaching on the telemarketing business, and they show no signs of stopping. If you’ve ever answered the phone to find a “robo-caller” on the other end, you’ve already experienced the beginnings of the robot telemarketing revolution.
As voice recognition technology continues to improve, there’s no reason artificial intelligence couldn’t complete entire sales calls with customers. They’d also be more cost-efficient for companies to employ. After all, computers aren’t subject to labor laws.
Artificial intelligence can do many things, including writing informative articles. For example, the Associated Press has already begun using AI to write stories about Minor League Baseball. The software scans the stats for each game and pens stories that include all the relevant information about which team won and which plays were remarkable. These stories might not have the wittiest linguistically constructions, but maybe a software update will change that in a few years.
6. Bank teller
If you’ve visited an ATM, you’ve already interacted with a machine that performs functions that used to require human assistance. In fact, an ever-evolving set of technologies is making banking more convenient for customers, from using your phone to cash checks to using a website to apply for a loan. According to a recent Citigroup report, as many as 30% of current bank jobs could go the way of the dodo by the year 2025.
Technology is also changing the face of war. Drones fly through enemy airspace to provide surveillance information and send missiles careening toward distant targets. Ground troops are also getting an assist from robots like the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle, an automated robot that looks like a miniature tank and is capable of engaging in breaching and assault missions.
Seeing as robots have a knack for combat, it’s not hard to envision future wars fought without putting soldiers’ lives in danger.