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9 Jobs Most (and Least) Likely To Be Taken Over by Robots

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The future — and the robot takeover that comes with it — is already here. We ask robots to help us avoid traffic, order pizza and clean our carpets — and that’s only the beginning. Automation is everywhere, and while it’s making life easier, making industries more profitable and making products more capable, that exact same automation is threatening jobs across the economy. 

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Customer service platform Tidio used Reddit and Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to poll 1,225 people about their feelings on automation — particularly about the jobs that respondents thought were most under threat by the robot revolution.

Last updated: Oct. 21, 2021 

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Restaurant Server

  • Average salary: $27,300
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 17%

It’s easy for human restaurant servers to be overworked and to get overwhelmed, which leads to mistakes. This can make for an unpleasant and inefficient dining experience for all involved. Robot waiters, apps, POS kiosks and other technology, on the other hand, always keep their cool — and they have already begun their takeover of the restaurant industry.

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Bartender

  • Average salary: $36,192
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 19%

Liker servers, bartenders enjoy flexible hours and cash tips. Although tending bar requires more experience than waiting tables, the position also demands the ability to multitask, stay cool under pressure and treat people with patience even when they don’t deserve it — all top robot qualities. 

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Cleaner

  • Average salary: $31,121
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 21%

From hospitals and homes to offices and restaurants, cleaning crews keep businesses and residences safe and sanitary. Thanks to COVID-19, that kind of work has never been more important — or more demanding and dangerous. Robots don’t catch viruses and they don’t mind the hard, dirty work that this job entails. 

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Bookkeeper

  • Average salary: $43,917
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 23%

Bookkeepers have been relying on sophisticated software to make their work easier and more accurate for years — but pretty soon, the software will leave its human masters behind. This doesn’t bode well for bookkeepers, but their technical experience, financial knowledge and mathematical skills could prove useful in higher-level positions like financial management or fraud examiners.

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Customer Service Representative

  • Average salary: $39,746
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 24%

Humans have been grumbling their way through automated customer service phone systems for years, but the future of customer service is shaping up to be much more sophisticated than press 1 for this and press 2 for that. According to Technology Review, artificial intelligence and chatbots are already making customers forget that they’re not talking to an actual person.

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Stocking Associate

  • Average salary: $27,218
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 26%

Anyone who has seen the inside of an Amazon fulfillment center knows that stocking and sorting robots operate with a level of speed, precision and skill that no human could ever hope to match. 

Warehouses aren’t supermarkets and retail stores, but the same technology is already on its way to muscling out the traditional stocker. 

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Translator

  • Average salary: $50,342
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 42%

Anyone with an internet connection can use impressively accurate translation tools — both written and spoken — for free with Google. There is still a niche for human translators, particularly as it applies to subtle nuances associated with regional dialects and slang, but not for long. 

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Driver

  • Average salary: $48,713
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 51%

Cab drivers, bus drivers and those in related positions will almost certainly see some robot takeover in the coming years. According to recent reports, self-driving cars will be widely seen on roads in a matter of years not decades.

“Humans will gradually be eased out of these roles as regulations allow driverless vehicles on the roads,” says Rohit Talwar, CEO of Fast Future. Talwar also notes we’ll likely see robot drivers operating trucks and rescue vehicles as well.

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Cashier

  • Average salary: $25,020
  • Percentage of respondents who predict a robot takeover: 63%

In 2018, the country’s cashiers saw the future, and it didn’t look good — unless you’re a robot. That year, Amazon debuted its fully automated Amazon Go convenience store, where grab-and-go shopping allowed customers to shop without standing in lines or going through a checkout process — cashiers simply weren’t needed. Amazon Go has had some issues and the format isn’t perfect, but anyone who has hustled themselves through self-checkout in the grocery store knows that the traditional cashier’s days are limited.

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These Jobs That Robots Can’t Touch — Yet

The Tidio study also asked respondents about the jobs they thought were least likely to be taken over by robots. Here are the results: 

  • Mechanic: 16%
  • Electrician: 19%
  • Nurse: 21%
  • Lawyer: 26%
  • Doctor: 30%
  • Police officer: 31%
  • Therapist: 35%
  • Musician: 36%
  • Artist: 39%
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Kaitlin Willow contributed to the reporting for this article.