There’s a 50% Chance a Robot Will Take Your Job in the Next 20 Years

Robot-WorkersBy Jake Anderson

Job loss is blamed on many factors. Illegal immigration (though this argument is dubious at best), outsourcing, regulatory overreach, and automation are the most common culprits. Of these, automation — specifically the rise of a robotics-based labor force coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) — poses the greatest threat to the average job. Advances in robotics and AI may soon endanger the employment status of everyone from drivers and personal assistants to sex workers and writers.

According to a CNN report, the Bank of England is preparing for automation to shed 80 million American jobs and 15 million British jobs within the next 10 to 20 years. This is approximately 50% of the U.S. and British workforce. Forbes has put the number at 45%.


The workers who will be replaced first are toll booth operators, cashiers, marketers, customer service reps, factory workers, financial middlemen, journalists, lawyers, and phone workers. These jobs will soon be supplanted by automated services made possible by AI, 3D printing, robotics, nanotechnology, and even biotechnology.

Sourcing a study from Oxford University, Yahoo Tech adds even more jobs to the endangered list, including paralegals, loan officers, receptionists, salespeople, security guards, fast food cooks, and even bartenders.

“We are approaching the time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task,” says Moshe Vardi, a computer science professor at Rice University in Texas. “Society needs to confront this question before it is upon us: if machines are capable of doing almost any work humans can do, what will humans do?”

The transformation is already underway, and the World Economic Forum (WEF) believes five million jobs will be gone by 2020, irrevocably terminated by what they call the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” The jobs most at risk in the immediate present, the WEF says, are “administrative and routine white-collar office functions,” though eventually advances in AI will provide corporations with the option of outsourcing virtually any job to automated services and entities.

What can humans do? The WEF recommends “upskilling.”

At least one analyst is more optimistic on the issue. J.P. Gownder of Forrester, a Boston-based tech research firm, says robots will replace some jobs, but will also create new ones. The new jobs, Gownder believes, will be training the robots.

This article (There’s a 50% Chance a Robot Will Take Your Job in the Next 20 Years) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Jake Anderson and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

  • Ben

    “The new jobs, Gownder believes, will be training the robots.”

    Once they are trained jobs cease existing, robot will train robot.

    • hit

      good point…. “as if”, we need to worry about losing jobs.!!

  • gweneth

    Hey – here’s an idea – replace all of CONgres w/ robots – couldn’t be any less representative or worthless.

    • hit

      even better point.!!

  • Mysterian

    Wonder if all those brain trust techies making the decision to replace workers with robots have figure out how those laid off workers will have any money to buy anything those robots make.

    • PeedNUrGenePool

      You will be supplied with free money…at least in the short term. EU countries have already discussed taxing robotic labor based on the number of human jobs replaced. Then using that money to provide for the unemployed. Eventually (and inevitably) robots will replace all human jobs. Advancements in AI are all that is necessary. Computers/robotics will become so good, no one would ever hire a human….it will come to that. And….if that’s not enough…another change….we simply have robots build robots….giving us essentially unlimited labor. Note that we also send those robots to other planets for resources.

      • Mysterian

        And they will eliminate the 6.5 billion humans, except for the elitist owners and they will have their Elysium fields.

  • Chuck Findlay

    I do home repair/ remodeling and a lot of other service based work. No robot is going to replace what I do. There are way too many things and variables for a machine to do.

    If you are worried about this move into a field that robots can’t do. Not easy to do, but far from impossible. And it’s better to make the move now that later when it will be forced on you. Or just keep the cruse control set on auto till your job goes away and wonder (and complain) how it happened to you.

    Most service-based jobs are very likely resistant to automation, look into starting your own service-based income stream.

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