Not all jobs equally threatened by robotics in next decade — how about yours?

mckinsey automation job change replacement robotics moley robot chef hands screen
Moley Robotics
Robotics, artificial intelligence, and automation are all going full steam ahead. In the uncertain future, one thing we can all count on is that just about all jobs and professions will be affected. The most important question for most of us is, “Will I lose my job?”

Opponents of minimum wage increases say that if fast food industries are forced to bump up entry level salaries, they’ll install robots instead. A new report from McKinsey & Company might give solace to burger flippers, but perhaps no one else in the workforce, as reported on SiliconBeat.

The report breaks U.S. jobs into three categories based on the tasks involved. The categories are highly susceptible, less susceptible, and least susceptible to automation. Susceptibility, in this case, refers at least to change if not outright replacement.

The most susceptible jobs are those requiring physical activity or the operation of machinery. Automation risk is 78 percent if your job involves running a machine, especially in a predictable environment (think factory floor or assembly line).

“Since predictable physical activities figure prominently in sectors such as manufacturing, food service, and accommodations, and retailing, these are the most susceptible to automation based on technical considerations alone,” McKinsey reported.

So wait, doesn’t that sounds like burger flippers are in jeopardy? Not necessarily and in fact, early on at least, probably not. The report relates cost factors. Just because a task can be performed by robots doesn’t mean it will be cost-effective to do so. With a large labor supply and relatively low wages the ROI on replacing fast food line cooks isn’t there yet. Let the technology simmer a few more decades, however, or the labor cost rise too high, and the cost savings could more easily justify the investment.

Any jobs involving logistics, inventory management, and packing merchandise are also vulnerable, with startling impact. Overall, McKinsey’s report state 53 percent of retail tasks can be automated, a level that jumps to 86 percent when including tasks performed by bookkeepers, auditors, and accountants.

Data collection and processing? McKinsey said more than 60 percent of the jobs that involve those tasks are in jeopardy, including upper-level managers, who typically spend 31 percent of their own jobs with data-related tasks.

Operating complex machinery in varied settings, managing  and developing people, teaching, expertise-based decision-making, creative tasks, and any position that calls for a heavy load of human interaction is less likely to be affected directly by automation in the near future, McKinsey’s report says.

If your current position involves working in one position doing repetitive work, whether physical or mental, now’s the time to look into retraining or at least a career path rethink. Head to jobs that require human interaction and judgment and creative decision-making. At least for now, jobs that use those skills and involve those types of tasks are less vulnerable.

Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Emerging Tech

Russia’s robot news anchor gives human TV presenters hope

Human news anchors anxious about robots taking their jobs will be feeling reassured this week after the appearance on Russian TV of a news-reading android that clearly needs a bit of work.

Hook up your stream setup at a great price with these Stream Deck alternatives

The original Elgato Stream Deck is a great device for managing your content while you stream games on Twitch, but there are plenty of Stream Deck alternatives that can do the job, as well.

Buying airline tickets too early is no longer a costly mistake, study suggests

When you book can play a big role in the cost of airline tickets -- so when is the best time to book flights? Earlier than you'd think, a new study suggests. Data from suggests the window of time to buy at the best prices is…

Microsoft accelerates carbon reduction plans in new sustainability push

Microsoft wants to accelerate its sustainability goal of becoming a zero-carbon company. To reach those goals, Microsoft is doubling its self-imposed carbon tax to incentivize business divisions in making sustainable choices.

Exclusive: The Surface Hub 2S will revolutionize work. Here’s how it was made

Exclusive interviews with the designers, futurists, and visionaries behind the Surface Hub 2 paint a dramatic picture of how Microsoft thinks collaboration will change your office.

Apple and Qualcomm settle all disputes, reach six-year agreement on chips

Apple and Qualcomm have announced that they have settled all disputes between them around the world -- and not only that, but have also agreed to a six-year agreement for Qualcomm to supply Apple with chips.

The Department of Justice may prevent the T-Mobile-Sprint merger

T-Mobile and Sprint are getting closer to merging. After a few failed attempts, the two companies announced their merger at the start of 2018. The new T-Mobile could be better positioned to take on the likes of Verizon and AT&T.

Intel gives up on 5G modems for smartphones, will focus on other devices

After a delay that saw Intel's manufacture of 5G modems pushed back to 2020, Intel has given up on the 5G modem business, and will focus its efforts elsewhere. But is something else to blame?

Microsoft reveals details of Surface Hub 2S, coming in June at $9,000

The Surface Hub 2 could be the most expensive whiteboard ever made, but it should be a powerful and capable one. With the ability to connect several of the 50-inch displays together, the picture at least, should be gorgeous.
Smart Home

There will be 200 million smart speakers by year’s end, analysts say

A new report by the research and analysis firm Canalys predicts that more than 200 million smart speakers will be engaged by users by the end of 2019, which is a growth of over 82% from last year.

Sidestep banking fees with the nationwide launch of T-Mobile Money

T-Mobile has launched its Money banking service nationwide in the U.S., and it offers an extremely tempting set of features for everyone, including industry-leading interest rates, a powerful app, and no banking fees.

Toyota leads $1 billion investment in Uber’s self-driving tech division

In a move that has been a long time coming, Uber filed its S-1 documents, which sets the stage for the company to finally go public with an initial public offering. The company could be valued at more than $100 billion.