Whether you're excited for the coming advances in robotics and automation or dread it like the plague, there's no denying that the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) will be felt across many industries. But, not everyone will experience the disruption equally.
According to a recent report from AgileCraft, automation will impact people differently depending on their current job, education level, salary, and more, putting certain professionals in a much worse position than others.
SEE: IT leader's guide to the future of artificial intelligence (Tech Pro Research)
Here are the top five professions that have the highest risk of automation, along with their percentage of risk:
- Cashiers - 97%
- Office clerks - 96%
- Secretaries/assistants - 96%
- Food preparation - 92%
- Retail salesperson - 92%
The above professionals employ millions of people. So, if the report is correct, robots could have a serious impact of the economy. The report puts the total job losses at roughly 40 million, with the total salary losses at $1.3 trillion.
However, other professions are much safer. Elementary school teachers, for example, only have a 0.4% chance of being replaced by a robot. Registered nurses have a 0.9% chance, and office administrators have a 1.4% chance, rounding out the bottom three.
Folks with no education have the highest chance of being replaced by robots, at 82%. Bachelor's degree holders have the lowest risk at a mere 16%. An associate's degree is in the middle, with 42%.
Professionals with certain salaries had different risks as well. Those making $20,000-$30,000 had the highest risk (71%). Those making more than $100,000 had the lowest risk (6%). The risk is roughly proportional to salary (higher salary means lower risk), with a few exceptions in the middle.
Geographically, the coasts and Texas were the most vulnerable to automation, while the central US was the least vulnerable.
This report is one of many looking to analyze the potential impact of AI on jobs. The outlook isn't completely negative: Gartner predicts that by 2020, AI will eliminate 1.8 million jobs, but will create another 2.3 million jobs.
The big takeaways for tech leaders:
- The three professions at the highest risk for automation are cashiers (97%), office clerks (96%), and secretaries/assistants (96%). — AgileCraft, 2018
- The total professional job losses to automation will be roughly 40 million, with the total salary losses at $1.3 trillion. — AgileCraft, 2018
- How to implement AI and machine learning (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
- Robots with soft hands will transform the world. Here's why. (ZDNet)
- Machine learning: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Automating security? Robots can't replace humans in decision loop (ZDNet)
- Robots don't want to take your miserable office job (CNET)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.