Will Technology Replace Your Job?

Will Technology Replace Your Job?

The Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2025 up to one-quarter of jobs will be replaced by smart software or robots.1 Jobs most at risk are those that require only a high school diploma.  These jobs typically don’t require much human analysis making it easier for machines to handle.  These jobs might be found in retail, banking, and transportation sectors.  The shift is already underway.’

“By 2025 up to one quarter of jobs will be replaced by smart software or robots.”Boston Consulting Group

Many stores have installed automated self check-out lines, kiosks, etc; below are some examples from various companies:

  • Target, Ralphs, and CVS = self check-out lines
  • Chiles = kiosks
  • Amazon = brick & mortar store w/ no checkout line or register
  • CaliBurger = burger-flipping robotic arm


Earlier this year Amazon Go made headlines where Amazon Go customers will be able to shop in a brick and mortar store that has no checkout line or cash register.  The payment process is automated via the customers’ smartphone.  This is enabled by the technologies used in self-driving cars such as computer vision, sensor fusion, and deep learning.

Fully autonomous self-driving cars will be ready for mainstream within the next decade.  We already see parking and lane assist and automatic braking systems in the higher end car models.

Then there is Flippy the burger-flipping robotic arm from Miso Robotics.  CaliBurger, a fast-casual restaurant, “hired” the first Flippy in its Pasadena, CA store.  If Flippy makes the grade during its internship CaliBurger is poised to “hire” Flippy in 50 of its stores across the country in the coming years.

But will technology replace jobs or simply shift some job tasks to technology leaving humans to perform more complicated tasks?  Some suggest the job task shift due to technology infiltrating business will be greater than jobs actually being replaced by technology.

Important shifts have already taken place in many job roles.  Doctors have been assisted for years by robotic arms during delicate surgeries.  ATMs have shifted the role of bank teller less from handling cash more toward client relationship activities.  Stock traders have software that can predict stock picks allowing traders to spend more time with client opportunities.  None of these technology-enhanced jobs have gone away.

Over the Years

When looking at history we’ve experienced an incredible amount of technology and automation.  In 1900 40% of jobs were in agriculture.  Today it’s only 2%, yet this has not resulted in a net reduced amount of employment.  We don’t dig ditches by hand anymore and tractors do the work of horses and people.

Just like in history we are experiencing an incredible amount of technology today that will most certainly affect jobs in some way.  The future is not scary if businesses (and employees) plan for this shift.

Business, assisted by human resource leaders, can plan for this shift by asking important questions such what jobs will be created by technology.  How do we incorporate technology to help employees be more productive? How will technology disrupt jobs in the company?  With planning, business can begin to revamp employee programs, training, and on-boarding to incorporate technological shifts.

Will technology replace your job?  Make your own assessment.  Retool as necessary to prepare for the shift to come.


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End Notes:

  1. Future of Work: Three Ways to Prepare for the Impact of Intelligent Technologies in Your Workplace; Meister, Jeanne, July 6, 2016, Forbes.com