Global Robot Revolution: EVERY Job Is At Risk?

The manufacturing sector was the first one to introduce robots to perform repetitive tasks such as assembling vehicles and other products. Up to 2007, each industrial robot replaced about 6 workers (The Economist, 2017). By 2030, robots may replace 20 million manufacturing workers (Cellan-Jones, 2019).

Some management level positions are being displaced by robots, artificial intelligence and automation decision-making to save time and to reduce human emotional volatility. Humans will design the critieria by which artificial intelligence systems make decisions and intervene on an as needed basis (Flaherty, 2019).

The financial services industry has already replaced many workers with robots.  For example, bank tellers have been replaced with automated teller machines in the 20th century. Data entry staff who perform repetitive accounting tasks have been displaced by robots that can automatically answer routine questions, reducing manual labor hours. In addition, asset managers have announced that robots will replace stock pickers. (Bowen, 2019), (Brewer, 2019), (Phaneuf, 2019)

Online marketing is using chatbots to automatically handle routine customer queries and share articles on websites, online stores, and social media. They improve customer engagement and satisfaction and reduce human resource needs. (Kim, 2018), (Rojas-Tepepa, 2019)

The retail industry use robots to pack goods on shelves, scan shelves for empty spots, and scan floors for broken jars and then report to humans for action (JGendron, 2019).  Amazon is already testing the use of robots for deliveries to Amazon Prime customers in Southern California (Nichols, 2019). Already, the jobs of packers and delivery personnel are at risk. (Petrovic, 2019), (Ryan, 2019)

The medical industry has been using surgical robots in low-invasive procedures for more than 10 years. Soon, there will be robots to draw blood, check vital signs, give medicines, perform more precision surgery, clean floors, and keep patients company. Most of these tasks are tiresome and repetitive, so they will be delegated to robots that never complain or tire. (Cohetero, 2019), (Duchier, 2019), (Medical Futurist, 2019)

Therapists utilize human-like “social robots” to help teach social behavior to autistic children and to provide companionship for the elderly with dementia.  The United States military also uses computer-generated virtual therapists to screen soldiers for PTSD. (Huembes, 2019)

Administration and accounting are also being automated. According to WorkFlowWise, 91% of 500 billion invoices are still prepared manually worldwide, matched to purchase orders, and captured into a system. Robots can do that faster and error-free and generate reports. In this area, about 97% of the jobs are at risk (WorkFlowWise, 2017).

Insurance companies are already using robots for claims handling (Dietz, 2018). Global insurer, Zurich Insurance Company Limited in Switzerland has automated its local policy issuance processes and is realizing 50% reduction in costs (Finance TnT). A Japanese insurance company replaced 34 claim jobs with one robot, costing $1.7 million once-off and saving $1.1 million per year in salaries (Gershgorn, 2017). If this happens in many insurance companies, robots will displace millions of workers. Soon, they will be used for more than 200 processes! (Digital Workforce), (Sotero, 2019)

Some leading hotels are already using robots as concierges, butlers (for room deliveries), front desk staff, and luggage carriers. Robots free up human time for other tasks and leave guests with a positive experience. (Noone, 2019), (Social Tables)

The food industry is gradually replacing humans with robots. Automation potential to replace waiting staff in New York City is 77%, rising to 87% if food preparation is included (Chaban, 2018). The potential is possibly this high worldwide. Fast food and pizza joint workers are already losing their jobs to ordering kiosks and robotic cooks. (Artigues, 2019), (Beltis, 2019)

Agriculture is already using robots on large commercial farms for autonomous mowing, pruning, seeding, spraying, thinning, harvesting, picking, weed control, phenotyping, sorting, packaging, and utility platforms. This is helping with the labor shortage in the industry and also replacing many workers. Scientists use drones to inspect research fields to check crops for gaps, height, moisture content, diseases, and other factors. This used to require many technicians spending many hours to check crops manually. (Gosset, 2019), (Romaguera, 2019)

Teaching may benefit immensely from using robots as teaching assistants. It is predicted that by 2027, robots will be greatly involved in education. Whether they can completely replace the warmth and motivation that a teacher gives to young children remains to be seen. They are already being tested in Finland for teaching language and mathematics in schools (Reuters, 2018), and they are already being used to teach English in Japan and South Korea. (Hornyak, 2010), (Hamakawa, 2018), (Medina, 2019)

Legal services have benefiting from the applications of artificial intelligence and robotics for quite some time.  For example, DoNotPay has helped to overturn tens of thousands parking tickets around the globe.  In addition, software has been utilized for the discovery process in lawsuits, to comb through emails, texts, databases and scanned documents – taking the place of paralegals. (Mack, 2017), (Greenfield, 2019)

The transportation industry is utilizing robots in a variety of ways.  Some companies are delivering packages with drones.  Robots are expected to replace thousands of Lyft and Uber drivers.  There are still problems with regulation and safety but it appears that taxis and city buses will be automated, possibly by the early 2020s.  (McColley, 2019)

The aviation industry‘s goal is to automate the entire piloting process.  Perhaps the air force planes to begin with.  The U. S. Department of Defense has tested a robot pilot called the Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS).  It uses a number of cameras to monitor gauges and switches in the aircraft, and an arm to control the navigation throttles.  The robot will manage the plane while the human pilot focuses on other duties such as data gathering and reconnaissance.  In addition, Boeing aircraft manufacturer has been using robots for several years. (Drumm, 2019)


While robots improve efficiency in operations, they are replacing many jobs in many industries, and they will continue to do so as more industries adopt them.


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