Could you be replaced by a robot?

The march of automation has already begun. Think driverless cars, AI assisted surgery and Google’s DeepMind. Predictions suggest that it’s a matter of when rather than if for many professions. But could you be replaced by AI?

How susceptible are you?

Is it possible that machine learning could take your job? Oxford University researchers Carl Frey and Michael Osborne’s work, ‘The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? examined the likelihood of redundancy by automation.

The researchers predict that a whopping 47% roles will be automated at some point in the future. Roles with no requirement for educational attainment, offering low salaries were more likely to be computerised.

Telltale Signs

There are a number of telltale signs that your role is amongst those most likely to be automated. Here are 5 clues to look out for;

  1. Your role involves data dependent questions. If your work depends upon gathering data by asking questions, for example call centre staff, then it’s likely that an algorithm could replace you.
  2. Consistency is key to your role. Think human error and machine learning for this one. In recent trials computer accuracy has proved more accurate and consistent that it’s human counterpart.
  3. You analyse data. The research suggests that if your role involves analysing data you could be replaced by automation. Think about the advances in apps that complete routine analytical tasks, accounting programmes, NHS online diagnosis or triage, ‘Help’ systems on your device to trouble shoot when things go wrong.
  4. Your work is repetitive and manual. If your role is low skill and low wage it is amongst the most likely to go first. The researchers predicted that these roles will be automated within the next decade.Think about car manufacturing, check out kiosks or any other role that advances in robotics could complete. Expand your thinking on this one, even care of the elderly by AI has been mooted.
  5. Your job doesn’t involve contact with humans. If your job involves building relationships (teaching, therapy, consultant etc.) working with others then it’s less likely to be automated than a role where you work in isolation. If your role doesn’t involve working with others, you’re at risk of being automated. At present, AI isn’t particularly great at building relationships.

And Least Likely

Is it possible to future-proof your career? Frey and Osbourne found that the jobs least likely to be usurped by robot upstarts were roles requiring “perception and manipulation, creative intelligence, and social intelligence.” Professions where working with others is key, building rapport, managing complex relationships or producing creative solutions do not lend themselves to machine learning. If you see an emotionally intelligent machine then drop us a line, we’ll invite it round for a cup of tea and a chat. In the meantime if you want to take your first steps in future proofing your career start by building your emotional and social intelligence.

Originally published at on February 22, 2017.