View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
July 15, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 1:29pm

10 jobs that could soon be replaced by technology

The machines are coming – better look busy.

By Vinod

There’s no arguing the fact that these days we depend on technology for much of our everyday lives. From the moment our phone alarm wakes us up in the morning to the moment we fall asleep watching a film on our iPad, we are connected to our technology in a wide variety of ways. But as technology takes a firm hold on our leisure time, what about our working lives? Over the last hundred years, the world of work has changed immeasurably as machines and robotic tools have taken over many of our less attractive working roles. But what about some more common professions? Here are 10 fields which could well be on the cusp of a technological takeover…

Taxis

Taxi drivers

Self-driving cars have long been a common science-fiction feature in portrayals of the future, where personalised pods or tubes transport us to wherever we need to be. But Google has recently taken major steps towards realising this with its own in-house driverless cars project, saying it will rollout major trials over the summer.

However, the search titan isn’t the only company developing or trialling driverless technology. Seeing this major consumer interest, manufacturers including Nissan, Volvo and Tesla have all committed towards creating prototypes, with the latter promising to have a commercially available car by 2016.

These prototypes will need to be extremely well-regulated, though, as even one accident could severely impact both public opinion and development. The acting head of America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently urged manufacturers like Google to work with the body to ensure they comply with current safety standards.

Content from our partners
Rethinking cloud: challenging assumptions, learning lessons
DTX Manchester welcomes leading tech talent from across the region and beyond
The hidden complexities of deploying AI in your business

If the technology does succeed and become widespread, this will almost certainly do away with the need for any exterior drivers, such as taxi drivers and couriers, as personalised services learn about us and take us wherever we need to be.

robot nurse

Nurses

The robotics industry has taken huge strides over the past decade, spurred on by increased investment particularly in the Far East, home to many of the major manufacturers. In an ageing population, the need to facilities to care for the elderly is quickly become paramount, and several companies have developed robotic solutions to try and solve this.

In Japan, 24 companies, including Toyota, are receiving subsidies covering half to two-thirds of the cost to develop nursing care robotic equipment to help care for their increasing elderly population, with the country forecast to need 2.4 million nursing care workers by 2025. With services ranging from health monitoring to lifting patients (a major cause of physical injury amongst healthcare professionals) to just providing basic company, these robots relieve the burden on human staff and should lead to better quality of care for many.

Significant testing and development still needs to be done in the field, but staff shortages and a growing elderly population mean that we may see robot nurses becoming common quicker than we think.

reporter

Reporter

Somewhat alarmingly (for this writer at least) the age of the human journalist may also soon be at risk – at not just the world of print media. The continued growth of blogs, along with news aggregation services like Flipboard Google News are making the average consumer less reliant on newspapers, and may soon do away with human reporters altogether.

US firm Narrative Science gained lots of attention a few years ago after releasing software that could potentially replace human sports reporters by automatically generating news stories about baseball games. Since then, the Chicago-based company has continued to work on its software, and it’s now raised $11.5m to expand into new markets thanks to a new tool it calls Quill.

Quill expands upon the company’s original software, and is capable of generating stories from a variety of fields, starting with sports, financial and real-estate news. Having gained significant attention throughout its development, however, Narrative Science is now also expanding Quill into financial services, marketing services and intelligence, and is also training it to generate personalised reports that read like they’re written by humans.

These advances could also affect other forms of writing and data input, as software and computers become more intelligent and attuned to the human voice. Court reporters and data entry services could soon be replaced by voice-recognition programs, and personal assistants are increasingly falling out of fashion as people turn to their mobile device to help them organise their schedules and remind them about appointments.

 

accountant

Accountant

Another role at risk of being fully automated, accountancy is a field which has evolved tremendously over the past few decades. From the days of processing dusty ledgers and torn receipts, today’s accountants can quickly and easily input and analyse a client’s returns or output using a range of optimised software.

Similar to journalists, accountants are at risk of this software being continually updated and evolving to take over more and more of their jobs until they have nothing left to work on. Businesses will begin to switch from outsourcing their accounts to a whole different company in favour of a specific internal program which they can tailor to their own needs and desires.

shop assistant

Shop Assistant

If stand-up comedians are to be believed, automated supermarket checkouts are the work of the devil himself – and if you currently work in a large store, they may well be taking your job. Despite our moaning about items not being properly in the bagging area, self-service points are becoming ever more popular in supermarkets as customers become more familiar with them, and have even begun moving into other forms of retail as well.

But self-checkout terminals also save businesses money, as they don’t need to train up and pay human workers, and can often be quicker and more reliable in processing transactions, making less mistakes.

factory worker

Factory Worker

During the Industrial Revolution, factories were the lifeblood of the British nation, with hundreds of thousands of workers toiling away in all manner of industries in order to make this country great. However, terrible working conditions and appalling safety records soon meant that the development of better, more efficient factories became a key matter of concern for businesses, a trend which has continued on to today.

Automated machines or robots now perform many of the functions too difficult or dangerous for humans to perform, as they can operate in extreme temperatures for hours at a time. Humans are still needed to maintain and oversee these machines, but as the technology evolves and develops, it will surely only be a matter of time before many become self-aware and no longer need our help.

telemarketing

Telemarketers

A revelation that may spark cause for celebration among many, the much-maligned telemarketers may be on their way out due to the increase of ‘robocall’ technology, which replaces the human salesperson with an automated voice. You may have experienced them already, and although they remain just as irritating as their human counterparts, automated callers can do their job 24 hours a day, and will never lose motivation or sound disinterested when you tell them they’re interrupting a quiet evening in.

 

ATM

Bank Worker

The continued growth in online and mobile money management is putting many traditional banking jobs at risk, with the number of mobile phone users using their devices for banking purposes set to double over the next few years to hit one billion by the end of 2017. A recent Accenture study also found that over a quarter of Britons would be comfortable using a ‘digital-only’ bank, with no need to visit a physical branch, as consumer habits change and people seek to have more direct and personal control over the money.

Recent advances mean that along with simply paying for a purchase using NFC technology, mobile users can also arrange direct debits and make one-off payments to friends or businesses using their device. And following a recent trial by Barclays, customers will soon be able to pay in cheques just by taking a photo of them using so-called ‘digital imaging technology’, which will do away with one of the main reasons people have to go to their bank.

Alongside traditional ATMs, many banks also now have in-branch payment terminals, which allow customers to pay in cheques, arrange payments, and make withdrawals without having to speak to a worker, meaning the days of the bank teller could be numbered.

postman

Postman

Admit it, when was the last time you wrote someone a proper letter? The growth of online instant messaging, Skype and social media all mean that it’s easier to stay in touch with people than ever before, as handwritten communication suffers the effect.

The UK Post Office reported a 4% fall in year-on-year revenue earlier this month, with several of its 11,500 branches across the company facing cuts or even closure in the face of this, with daily collections and deliveries also under threat. Ironically, online shopping has quickly become one of the Post Office’s major sources of revenue, as customers eagerly await purchases.

However, this rise could soon be under threat thanks to a range of deals and advances made by major retailers, with Amazon in particular seeking to gain a foothold in A to B delivery processes. The company gained massive attention earlier this year when it announced it would soon be trialling delivery via unmanned drone, but the commerce giant is also venturing into the world of food delivery, as well as launching a "Last Mile" service to take on the likes of UPS and DHL.

receptionist

Receptionist

Finally, call up any major company helpline or switchboard today and it’s more than likely that you’ll run into a computerised voice. Many big businesses are calling in automated programs such as Virtual Receptionist or Davinci Live Receptionist to deal with the high volume of calls they receive, which is leading to many doing away with receptionists or operators.

 

Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.
THANK YOU