Tuesday, 08 September 2015 19:26

Rise of the Machines

Written by

Robot Chef

I read a great article last month on recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how this is the most important thing in the world right now that no one is talking about. For those of you like myself who had little recent information on this trend, I highly recommend you to read the article on waitbutwhy.com entitled The AI Revolution: The Road to Superintelligence. So firstly may I welcome our new robot overlords. In their honour I will look into the jobs that are going to be the first to go (as reported by NPR).

Telemarketers have a 99% chance of being automated. Many of today’s cold-callers are not human. Robots cannot only perform the job 24/7, but they can also maintain energy and perkiness no matter how many rude consumers they interact with.


Tax preparers have a 98.7% chance of being automated. Automating the process of preparing tax returns could result in fewer errors, and the technology, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), already exists.


Timing device assemblers and adjusters have a 98.5% chance of being automated. Machines are now able to perform the precise assembling, adjusting or calibrating that timing device assemblers specialise in.


Loan officers have a 98.4% chance of being automated. A Bloomberg article reported that inroads are already being made at Daric Inc., an online peer-to-peer lender. The company has replaced all loan officers with an algorithm that identifies safe borrowers.


Tellers have a 98.3% chance of being automated. Chances are you haven’t used a human bank teller in a while. ATMs can provide most of the services that tellers offer.


Umpires and referees have a 98.3% chance of being automated. In professional tennis, a computerised umpire called Hawk Eye is already being used to help the chief umpire make close line calls. Players have the option of ‘challenging’ a call, in which the Hawk Eye system will display where the ball landed and whether it was in or out. Its decisions are final. Hawk Eye represents just one system being used to solve disputes in sports.


Procurement clerks have a 98% chance of being automated. It is now very simple for machines to place orders with suppliers for materials and services. Also, ordering over the internet — or e-procurement — will result in a decline of these jobs.


Milling and planning machine setters, operators, and tenders have a 97.9% chance of being automated. Setting up, operating, or tending milling or planing machines are tasks that are increasingly being delegated to machines.


Credit analysts have a 97.9% chance of being automated. Automating the process of analysing credit data and financial statements, and preparing reports with credit information, could result in a lower degree of risk.


Drivers have a 97.8% chance of being automated. Drivers and chauffeurs won’t be needed for much longer. Google’s self-driving test cars have driven thousands of miles without human intervention. Also, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick loves the idea of autonomous vehicles and announced that Uber will eventually be replacing all of its drivers with cars that drive themselves.


Cashiers have a 97.1% chance of being automated. Panera Bread announced that it will have replaced all of its cashiers with kiosks by 2016, according to a USA Today article. Additionally, self-checkout machines are continuing to spring up in grocery stores around the world.


Restaurant cooks have a 96.3% chance of being automated. A noodle-slicing robot named Foxbot can be found at Dazzling Noodles, an open-kitchen restaurant chain in North China’s Shanxi province. There’s another robot chef making crab bisque from scratch, thanks to 20 motors, 24 joints and 129 sensors. The robot, designed by Moley Robotics, can complete the complicated dish in 30 minutes and even plates it.


Postal service workers have a 95.4% chance of being automated. Postal sorters, clerks, and mail carriers are being hit hard by automation. Not only are robots able to do tasks such as sort mail, but snail mail is also becoming more and more obsolete with the increasing digitisation of mail.


Jewellers and precious stone and metal workers have a 95.5% chance of being automated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US predicts their employment to decline 10% between now and 2022 as robots begin assisting in the manufacturing and repairing of jewellery.


Shane hopes his new robot boss is nice. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 October 2015 20:46
Shane Dillon

Shane has written the Word business column since 2009. He left his home town of Brisbane, Australia in 2004 and has worked in several Asian countries as well as Guatemala and Ukraine. He is interested in economics and the subtleties of doing business in Asia. Shane works in the insurance industry and can be contacted at shanedillon@pacificcross.com


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