Whenever a system can be automated, people lose jobs. It's hard to work around, and despite the fact that industries wax and wane despite the specific trends, people will always wonder whether putting so much of our infrastructure in the hands of robots is a safe idea. Regardless, individuals in industries with the potential for automation should consider an exit strategy, or some type of backup plan, should the machines indeed take over their place of work. To find out who may be at risk, check out this list of the top 10 jobs threatened by robots from Design Trend.
1. Bartender – It may sound a bit odd, but bartenders may be replaced by high-tech dispensaries sometime in the near future. Gone may be the days of shaky service – robotic drink-mixing will most likely provide very standardized results. Unless the system allows for non-standard combinations, bar-hoppers may be stuck with a fairly uninventive list of drinks, not to mention flat, impersonal service. Average Annual Salary: $18,900
2. Babysitter – If you think robots are nothing but heralds of a nuclear apocalypse, you've been watching too much "Terminator." Robots have been considered and tested as caretakers for the elderly, so it isn't too big of a stretch to imagine them tending to children. In many ways, however, this type of automating seems a bit far off. It's hard to imagine an algorithm and chassis being as clever and knowledgeable as flesh-and-blood professional. Average Annual Salary: $19,510
3. Musician – Creating music is one thing, but playing it is quite another. Although innovative music requires new ways of tweaking instruments, once a style can be systematized, it's not hard to imagine robotic armatures doing the work of a human. Of course, the music will probably lack any soul and sound the same from one set to the other, but in some settings, that might not be an issue. Average Hourly Rate: $23.50 an hour
4. Farmer – Farmers, despite all the technological advancements of the modern age, still rely on back-breaking labor to do their jobs. However, futurists predict that soon even the remaining hand-dirtying work will be snapped up by tireless machines. How they'll be implemented has yet to be seen, farmers may need to start hiring on robot repairman before too long. Average Annual Salary: $18,910
5. Delivery Driver – Google has announced plans to build self-driving cars, and Amazon wants fleets of delivery drones in the sky. Put two and two together, and you have a completely autonomous hoard of delivery vehicles. Whether by air or car, these systems may cut delivery drivers out of the picture all together at some point. Average Annual Salary: $27,530
6. Factory Workers – There are few careers as repetitive and monotonous as working in a factory, and as the luddites fear, the robots may be taking over these positions. Although the shift may bring about a surplus of repair and maintenance careers regarding robotic help, unless workers have the wherewithal to change careers, this may cause some big problems for factory workers. Average Annual Salary: $28,580
7. Nurse – Nurses are valued experts in the medical field; they tend to be well-paid due to their value as first responders, their excellent bedside manner, and assistance in diagnosing conditions. However, some think that automatons might prove to be cheaper and better than a live nurse. While some of the more basic tasks could conceivably be performed with boiler-plate machine logic, it's hard to imagine a robot serving as an informational and emotional point of contact for patients and their loved ones. Average Annual Salary: $65,470
8. Teacher – There are many trends towards automating the learning process, however fiercely they're opposed. While a robot cannot perform the extracurricular tasks that living teachers can, they may be able to provide standardized learning plans for certain topics. For this system to be successful, however, these theorized teaching intelligences must incorporate algorithms that allow for adaptation to each individual's needs. Average Annual Salary: $55,000
9. Mailman – Similar to delivery drivers, mailmen's jobs may succumb to the power of big tech creating automated processes for delivering parcels. The systems are currently in the very early stages of development, but within a few years, living mailmen may be a relic of the past. Average Annual Salary: $53,100
10. Soldier – For some it's scary, for others it's hopeful, but the concept of fully automated soldiers is not new and may possibly be around the corner. Organizations such as DARPA are designing and building different automated platforms to serve on the battlefield. Whether as a frontline unit with lethal capacity, or something serving a support function, the power of robotics and artificial intelligence is hard to deny. Whether through integration or a near-complete takeover, robotic assets will most likely take a big role in future plans for war. View the 2014 pay charts here.