The Modern Workplace: Robots Likely To Replace Humans In Jobs With Predictable Activities


There are growing concerns that robots may be taking over jobs traditionally done by humans. While it appears scary, it is definitely not surprising that automation is taking over the various business industries.

It was recently reported that cafeteria workers at State University of New York's Orange County Community College in Middletown will be replaced with vending machines. The workers will be laid off at the end of the spring semester.

In an email to students, Vinnie Cazzetta, executive director of the nonprofit Orange County Community College Association, said that the change comes after the school's food-service operations showed a deficit of over $150,000 last year. This is a continuation of a trend of significant operations losses that has plagued the college for years.

In a report by McKinsey Global Institute, a management consultancy firm, it was revealed that robots and computers nowadays are capable of performing a range of routine physical work activities better and more cheaply than humans. Moreover, they are also becoming more and more capable of activities that require cognitive capabilities like making tacit judgments, sensing emotion or even driving.

The firm conducted a research program on automation technologies and their potential effects. Automation has been found to enable businesses to improve performance and productivity.

They found that almost every occupation has partial automation potential. This means that a proportion of its activities can be automated.

However, with the current technologies, less than five percent of occupations are candidates for full automation. TIME noted that jobs with predictable activities in structured environments are the easiest ones to replace with robots. Manufacturing, food service and retail trade sectors are the industries that have the biggest potential with automation.

Malcolm Frank, author of "What To Do When Machines Do Everything," dispelled worry by pointing out that, while automation takes away jobs, it also gives back with new industries and new types of jobs such as computing and data science today.

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