Scientists from ETH Zurich and the University of Lausanne have determined which professions are most likely to fall victim to the next wave of robotization. Accordingly, physicists are the least at risk, but things are looking bad for butchers and meat processors. […]
Autonomous vehicles, clever robots and gadgets with artificial intelligence (AI) are just a few examples of increasing robotization. The pace and extent to which technology is leading to people being replaced in their professions is the subject of intense debate in the professional world.
The team led by Dario Floreano from ETH Lausanne (EPFL) and Rafael Lalive from the University of Lausanne has now created a so-called automation risk index (ARI) for 967 professions to assess the extent to which robotics and AI could displace employees. They report the results in the journal “Science Robotics”.
What machines can do better
Thus, an ARI of 0 means that robotic technologies will not be able to replace even a single human skill necessary for work. On the other hand, an ARI of 1 means that machines surpass humans in all the human skills required for work.
According to the analysis, it turned out that butchers and meat processors end up in the last place with an ARI of 0.78, and therefore they are most at risk of losing their job to a machine. The researchers determined similar values for cleaners, shelf restorers in the retail trade or couriers.
Physicists were rated with an ARI of 0.44 – and thus came in 1st place, according to which their profession can be performed least well by robots and AI. According to the analyses, neurologists, mathematicians, judges or prosecutors also have a low risk of being replaced.
Job changes as easy as possible
The researchers also used work profiles to create a “resilience index”. This is intended to serve as an orientation aid in order to allow employees to switch to a secure job with as little retraining effort as possible. Because professional changes that would increase the risk index would obviously not make sense. Neither is a change that requires a high amount of retraining.
As an example, the researchers cite an electrical engineer in the study who lands approximately in the middle of the ranking on the risk of automation. According to the researchers, the lowest effort for a job change to a safer profession results from a retraining to a software quality engineer or software tester.
According to the scientists, the results could help governments assess the risk of unemployment and take effective measures to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the next industrial revolution. The study results also allowed companies and experts in the field of robotics and AI to anticipate the effects of their own work.