The 10 Jobs That May be Replaced by a Robot
How will artificial intelligence affect jobs in the future? It’s an important question to ask. We can already see machines replacing jobs in the modern day. But could your job be under threat of automation in the future?
As an architect or engineer, it’s likely that you benefit from automation and robots in all sorts of ways. Take the digital design software you use as an example. Modern software packages often allow you to input data. They will then make the calculations for you, and store the results for later use. In some cases, your software may use these calculations to make adjustments to your models for you.
This is all very convenient, but what does it mean for your future? The rise of artificial intelligence has led to a lot of job insecurity. Many people worry about whether their jobs will be replaced by a robot.
This is a much greater concern than you may realise. Engineers, architects, and programmers may feel safe from the effects of artificial intelligence and the rise of robots. However, many of the people they work with may not feel quite so secure. Any job that does not require an element of human creativity may be at risk.
So which jobs are at risk of being replaced by a robot? This list takes a look at some roles that robots may fill in the future.
Basic Home Designer
Architects may feel as though robots and artificial intelligence present little threat to them. This may be true, at least for architects who work on complex projects. Designing a building is a creative task, and one that cannot easily be done via automation.
However, there are some architects who may find themselves at risk of automation. In particular, those who work in the home building industry doing basic designs may struggle.
There are already computer programs that help people to design their own homes. Those with no architectural training can use these programs to put together simple designs without the need of a professional. Most use these programs for visualisation at the moment. However, they will become more complex. In time, the need for these professionals may disappear.
ArchiStar Academy’s ArchiStarr Parametric Site Maximiser can generate thousands of building designs per hour when a developer is evaluating a new site. The objective is to maximise the total project sales price, optimising for unobstructed views. When we’ve shown this to architects, rather than feel threatened, they have embraced this new technology because quite often the work in the conceptual stage can be unpaid and time consuming. And even when building concepts are designed by machines, a good Architect is always required to validate the building design.
So on the plus side, architects can feel safe at the moment. According to the Oxford Martin programme, which examines employment, there’s only a 2% chance that architects will be replaced by a robot before 2035. However, you cannot discount the threat that automated design programs present.
Plumbing Engineers play a crucial role in the architectural sector. Many architects work alongside plumbers. In fact, almost every building that you work on will require plumbing of some description.
Plumbers essentially design the waterways that will run through your buildings. As a result, their advice will inform your design and material choices.
However, architects may not need plumbing engineers for very long. The rise of Building Information Modelling (BIM) means that you may soon be able to automate the plumber’s job. Furthermore, intelligent machines may be able to understand faults in existing plumbing systems. This would allow them to carry out maintenance and repair work.
All of this places the role of the plumber under threat. Eventually, it’s possible that a machine could tell you everything that you need to know about the plumbing systems in your buildings. In fact, the Oxford Martin programme notes that plumbers are at a heightened risk of being replaced by a robot. Researchers believe that there’s a 50% chance of plumbing being automated in the future.
Town planners often work alongside architects and engineers. However, their roles require less creativity. Instead of designing structures, they plan out how these structures will fit together within townships. They figure out how to create towns that don’t have to deal with the social and economic problems that arise from poor planning.
In a sense, you could think of a town as a giant jigsaw. All the pieces need to be in the correct place before it will work. As a result, there are set structures and procedures a town planner must follow.
These procedures are what place town planners at risk of automation. Machines will become capable of understanding how to create successful towns. Improved artificial intelligence will work towards that. They’ll also be able to handle the huge amount of information that a town planner must work through. Furthermore, these machines would not experience human errors.
At the moment, there isn’t a huge amount of risk for town planners. However, Oxford Martin does not that there is a 13% chance of town planners being replaced by a robot before 2035.
This is where the issue of automation begins to affect the architectural industry. In particular, construction crews may find that they run the risk of being replaced by a robot.
In particular, roofers may find themselves out of work in the future. Some estimates even claim that the risk of automation for roofers stands at 90%.
This probably comes down to the fairly regular design of a roof. You have a set of tiles, all of which you must arrange in formation. The only real barrier to this is the height of the roof. That’s what stops many people from doing it themselves in the first place. A professional roofer must be able to overcome the natural fear of heights, and do a good job while on a roof.
Automation eliminates the need to overcome the fear of heights altogether. Furthermore, roofs require a regular tile formation. This means that robots would not need to learn much to place tiles correctly.
Construction crews focus more on manual labour than design. They’ll take the designs that an engineer or architect creates and bring them to life. However, there are limitations to how much a construction crew can achieve in a day.
This is especially the case for bricklayers. On average, a bricklayer can lay between 300 and 500 bricks every day. This is an impressive total, but it’s one that machines can already exceed. For example, the Semi-Automated Mason (SAM) machine is able to lay up to 1,200 bricks per day. This is over double the output of a human bricklayer.
So, what does this mean for bricklayers? The fact that a machine can already do double or even triple the work of a human places them under severe threat. Construction sites may bring in several SAM machines to replace some of their bricklaying teams. Yes, a human is still needed to operate a SAM. However, this still means that site managers can cut their bricklaying crews.
Much like many of the other jobs on this list, the role of an accountant requires strict adherence to a set of procedures. Take your tax returns as an example. Your accountant will enter the relevant figures and work out how much you owe and what you can claim.
In this respect, accountants combine data entry with mathematical calculations. Both of them are things that computers can do just as well as humans. As artificial intelligence technology develops, we may see computers that can take on even more complex accounting tasks as well.
The average consumer may prefer an automated solution to a human accountant. After all, the accountant costs more. An automated accounting software package only requires a single investment.
The popularity of automated accounting software, such as Xero or TurboTax, may only signal the beginning. While an accountant can do much more than a machine right now, the same may not ring true in the future. As a result, engineers and architects may find themselves working with machines to handle their finances in a few years’ time.
As an engineer or architect, you rely on the manufacturing industry to make the materials that you need for your constructs. Without manufacturing workers, you would be unable to bring your buildings to life. As a result, they’re a crucial part of the building machine.
Unfortunately, manufacturing workers are also under a huge threat from machines. People have always been important to the manufacturing process in the past. However, there is a huge swing towards automation in the current manufacturing sector.
It all comes down to processes. Manufacturing requires strict adherence to processes. This ensures the consistent quality of every item that leaves the plant. You rely on these processes to create the materials you need for your constructions.
This means there is little room for human creativity. And as you’ve learned already, any role that doesn’t require creativity could be replaced by a robot. This is already happening in the manufacturing industry. Output has lowered, with many noting that the industry is close to stalling. The introduction of machines would speed up the manufacturing process. This would ensure that business owners don’t have to pay so much in wages to manufacturing workers.
Engineers are creative people. Their work involves examining situations and figuring out what’s possible. They then design structures that meet the needs of their clients.
On the face of it, this would suggest that engineers face little threat from machines. After all, human creativity is not something that artificial intelligence can emulate easily.
However, if you dig a little deeper, you may notice something distressing. Think about the digital design software packages that you use today. How many of them allow you to input data? How many times have you relied on a machine to complete calculations? Or to provide analysis that you would have worked on manually in the past.
The fact is that automation is a huge part of the current engineering industry. On one hand, this allows engineers to focus on the creative aspects of their work. However, artificial intelligence learns constantly. How long will it be before the automation that benefits engineers now becomes so intelligent that it can do your job for you?
How many of you use programming in your work? Many architects and engineers work with digital design software packages. These software packages may require them to code in order to create more complex models. As a programmer, you have to learn a set of procedures. This ensures that the code you create works within the software’s system.
The word “procedures” should set your alarm bells ringing. Programming languages have set rules and structures in place. These determine what you can do with the language. They're also things that an artificial intelligence could learn.
Simple programming is already something that machines can automate. Think about websites. Many of them come with content management systems (CMS). These allow the owner to enter information, which the CMS then turns into code.
Such systems are a threat to programmers. As artificial intelligence technology develops, so will software packages. Many will become capable of automating complex code creation. If that happens, you may find that the demand for programming skills can fall.
Construction Equipment Operators
If you head to any construction site, you’ll see all sorts of machinery on display. Cranes, for example, play a huge role in transporting materials to crews. Each of these machines require somebody to operate them. It’s a difficult job, and one that’s prone to human error.
So what happens if a machine could do that job? Properly-programmed artificial intelligence would adhere to safety protocols. It could even make calculations faster than a human. As a result, construction becomes more efficient.
This is great news for site managers. However, it doesn’t make pleasant reading for construction equipment operators.
In fact, the Oxford Martin Programme believes that construction equipment operators face a high risk of replacement. It estimates that there is a 95% possibility of automation for the construction equipment operation sector.
So what can you learn from this list? On a general level, it appears that the jobs which require an element of creativity are not at risk from artificial intelligence. Architects and engineers can feel safe in the knowledge that their jobs are most likely safe, for now. Even programmers don’t have to worry too much. After all, many have to find creative solutions to problems, even when working within the confines of a programming language. Nevertheless, there are many aspects of architectural, engineering, and programming jobs that machines may be able to take on in the future.
The jobs that require adherence to procedure have the highest risk of being replaced by a robot. Machines follow rules, with more advanced machines capable of following complex procedures. The technology behind robotics and artificial intelligence is advancing. As a result, those in the construction industry have a lot to worry about.
As such, you need a job that requires a creative spark. That’s where ArchiStar Academy can help. We offer courses for a range of digital design software packages. Contact us today to find out how to unleash your creativity and protect yourself from job automation.
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Posted on 10 Dec 2018