I’m of the general opinion that robots are very good and useful. A robot vacuum cleaner, for example, is a great idea, because why clean up after yourself when you can recruit a bot to suck away your disgusting mess? A self-moving robot suitcase, on the other hand? It’s fine, I guess, but also pretty dumb and unnecessary. My point is there are lots of tasks that don’t particularly require fancy-pants automation. So will someone tell that to the robot overlords who are about to steal all our jobs?
Yesterday, Motherboard uncovered an online tool called “Will Robots Take My Job?” and it’s as simple to use as it is terrifying: Just type in your profession and the website will spit out your odds of inevitably being replaced by a bot. The developers pulled data from both the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and a report called “The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?” to dispense the sobering stats.
Here’s the good news (for me at least): I typed in “writer” and found out my automation risk level is only 3.8 percent—or “totally safe,” as the tool puts it. Whew. But people with much more important jobs than mine are, how do I put this, kinda boned. Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators, for example, have a 95 percent probability of automation. And since this as a SFW tool, the developers politely categorize this risk as “You are doomed” instead of “You are fucked.”
My favorite feature is the option to see random examples of professions that will soon be wiped obsolete by bleeps and blorps. I just learned that real-estate sales agents are 86 percent likely to lose their lifeblood soon (the “Robots are watching” category), but hydrologists, meanwhile, who “research the distribution, circulation and physical properties of underground and surface waters,” per the website and definitely not per my own knowledge, pose only a 1.4 percent automation risk, joining me in the “totally safe” category. Congratulations, hydrologists! You keep doing you!