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Goodbye To Useless Human, Hello To Useful Robots
[Image: 3067279-poster-p-1-bet-you-didnt-see-thi...robots.jpg]

From insurance to construction to Hollywood, the specter of automation looms for some surprising jobs.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine who’s an accountant. He has his own accounting firm and lives an upper-class lifestyle in the Chicago suburbs. As he's an accountant with an additional degree in economics, naturally the conversation veered to the future of the economy. He said he will happily pay for his daughter's college education, provided she won’t pursue a degree in accounting.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a parent say they don’t want their child following in their career footsteps; a lawyer recently told me the same thing. And it’s not because they feel they've been unsuccessful or that their career was too demanding. Indeed, both are relatively well off and have plenty of free time to spend with their families. It's because they feel future job prospects in their fields are bleak due to one thing: automation.
Automation, which includes both mechanized robots (whether humanoid or drone-shaped) and artificially intelligent software programs, are predicted to eliminate 6% of the jobs in the U.S. in the next five years. And it’s not just low-wage employees that need to be worried. Highly skilled, knowledge-based employees in some sectors, including legal and accounting, could see their jobs decimated in the next decade. Deloitte estimates that 39% of jobs in the legal sector could be automated in the next 10 years. Separate research has concluded that accountants have a 95% chance of losing their jobs to automation in the future.
My accountant and lawyer friends are right to steer their children away, says Phil Burton-Cartledge, program leader for sociology at the University of Derby in the U.K. "When it comes to advice about higher education, I’d recommend students go for more generalist as opposed to specialist degrees, whether in the human, natural, or computer sciences. A broad range of skills and competencies is the best way to future-proof people for the challenges coming down the line," he says.
But it’s not just professionals in the legal and accounting sectors that will see jobs disappear due to automation. Knowledge workers, retail, and manual laborers will also see their job prospects decline. Here are the jobs that could be hit the worst.

The effects of automation on the insurance industry are already being felt. In Japan, Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance has recently replaced 30 of its medical insurance claims reps with an AI system based on IBM’s Watson Explore, reports the Guardian. The software can "analyze and interpret all of your data, including unstructured text, images, audio, and video" better and faster than a human can, and can "drastically reduce" the time needed to calculate Fukoku Mutual’s payouts, according to a company representative.

First it was the ATM that ate into human banking jobs, then the smartphone app. It’s likely that many of the remaining human-based teller and representative banking jobs will be finished off by AI, reports CNBC. AI won’t just be able to conduct cash transactions, it will be able to open accounts and process loans at a fraction of the cost and time it takes for human employees. "The ATM of tomorrow is going to replace the teller," Andy Mattes, CEO of financial software company Diebold told the network. "It can do approximately 90% of what the human being can do, and it's going to be your branch in a box."

Once thought indispensable to a company, keen-eyed financial analysts could spot a trend before it happened, allowing institutions to adjust their portfolios and potentially make billions of dollars. But human financial analysts can no longer compete with artificially intelligent financial analysis software that can read and recognize trends in historic data to predict future market moves. It’s no wonder that financial analyst jobs could be the worst hit in the estimated 30% of banking sector jobs lost to AI in the next five to 10 years.

Manual labor jobs are also under threat by automation. Robotic bricklayers will soon be introduced to construction sites that enable the machines to replace two to three human workers each, reports Technology Review. SAM (Semi-Automated Mason) can lay up to 1,200 bricks a day, compared to the 300 to 500 a human can do. While a human is still required to work with SAM to complete the more nuanced tasks, the use of SAM reduces the need for the three other bricklayers it would take to do the same job. Other on-site construction jobs such as crane operators and bulldozer drivers can also expect to see their positions filled by AI-controlled machines in the next decade.


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