5 Jobs Where Robots Will Replace Humans

Here's why 445,000 people could easily lose their jobs to computers. Is your career at risk?

Feb 23, 2014 at 1:00PM


Source: Cory M. Grenier.

Feel safe at your job? Think again.

One study finds 47% of all American workers are at "high risk" of losing their jobs to computers, algorithms, and robots. The study from the University of Oxford assigned probabilities to specific careers, seeking to determine the odds that a computer will replace human workers.

Here are the five jobs at the greatest risk, all of which scored 99% probability that computerization will lead to job losses.

1. Telemarketers
This could be good news or terrible news, depending on which end of the phone you find yourself. Sophisticated auto-dialers make it easy for one worker to complete hundreds of phone calls per hour. But complete automation could effectively destroy telemarketer jobs forever. Just remember, SkyNet may be on the other end of the line.

Some 245,000 people currently work as telemarketers, earning a median annual wage of $22,330.

2. Mathematical technicians
This doesn't sound like a job that a computer could do with ease, but it's hardly a unique, automation-safe career path. The job description requires technicians use "standardized formulas" to interpret scientific data. Unfortunately, standardization makes it easy to write software to do the same work, quickly, easily, and without calling in sick.

Currently, only 1,150 people have the job title, but they earn a median annual wage of $64,220.


Source: Humanrobo.

3. Insurance underwriters
Insurance underwriters review applicants to determine the risk profile of people seeking insurance. They're the first line in risk management, and the job relies heavily on computer-created data. Unfortunately, complex algorithms and the availability of data make traditional, simple underwriting for car insurance or home contents insurance easy to price, potentially leading to complete automation.

Insurance underwriting employs just under 92,000 people in the United States, who earn a median annual wage of $62,870.

4. Tax preparers
Interpreting the tax code is a skilled job. Filling out a 1040 form isn't. Tax preparers aren't accountants; they fill out tax documents for individuals using computer software to make their jobs more like data entry than CPA-level tax planning. The explosion of inexpensive tax software like Turbo Tax could make this job obsolete.

There are more than 61,000 tax preparers in the United States, who earn a median annual wage of $33,730.

5. Photographic process workers
In a world of Instagram and quick "selfies," processing and creating printed photos just isn't a great business. This job requires someone to man a photo printer, occasionally editing some prints and photo negatives. With fewer people using film, and even fewer getting prints of their digital photos, this job is quickly becoming obsolete.

The business of photo printing and processing employs 45,760 people, who earn a median annual wage of $23,120. 

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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