10 Jobs Destined For Robots - InformationWeek

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12/11/2013
09:06 AM
Thomas Claburn
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10 Jobs Destined For Robots

The machines are coming for some of our jobs. Be afraid or welcome our new robot overlords, as you prefer.
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Farm Worker

Harvest Automation positions its farming robot as a way to address labor scarcity issues. Hard though it may be to believe, the median income from farm work -- between $2,500 and $5,000 per year -- just doesn'tattract enough people.

Harvest Automation positions its farming robot as a way to address labor scarcity issues. Hard though it may be to believe, the median income from farm work -- between $2,500 and $5,000 per year -- just doesn't
attract enough people.

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Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
12/12/2013 | 8:02:03 PM
Re: Make yourself irreplaceable.
I agree with Li. The value of a human is not doing repeatable tasks over and over. It is the ability to put many pieces toghether and create new ideas from disparate places. Although manufacturing and services jobs with very specific focus areas may be assumed by robotics, many roles that require analysis and management can never be replaced by automation.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
12/11/2013 | 4:22:42 PM
Re: Race Against the Machine
>So the big unanswered question is how society will deal with ever-increasing pools of people who want to work but really have no place to go?

I hope there's an answer beyond war, disease, and/or gated communities. Given the current political gridlock in the US and the inflexibile governments in Russia and China, it's difficult to be optimistic about where things appear to be headed.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
12/11/2013 | 1:09:40 PM
Re: Robots In Service Jobs
The best use of robots (specifically software) I've seen recently has been T-Mobile. When you call the support line, the software tells you immediately you can speak with a human representative. It's a much better implementation than most companies, where you have to press several numbers and listen to canned messages before they allow you to select a human to interact with.
RobPreston
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RobPreston,
User Rank: Author
12/11/2013 | 1:09:05 PM
Re: Robots In Service Jobs
Automated train control has been in the news recently, with the derailment of a Metro North passenger train in the Bronx, killing four people and injuring many more. The train was going way too fast around a turn because of human error. A government-mandated, industry-funded ($20 billion in all) system development effort called Positive Train Control promises to slow trains down automatically when they're going too fast. Originally, the railroad companies hoped they could help pay for this effort by eliminating an on-board engineer for every train once they implement PTC (due around 2015). They're fighting the unions on that front.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
12/11/2013 | 12:22:41 PM
Re: Robots are no joke
One example that was missed here is the work being done by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to develop robots that can respond to disasters and emergencies that would endanger human first responders.  Teams are competing to build robots that, for instance, must find a way to get into a utility vehicle and drive it, move over muddy and uneven terrain, pick up a firehose and attach it, then turn it on. 

Read more at DARPA Challenge: Build Virtual Robots - InformationWeek
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
12/11/2013 | 11:14:43 AM
Making things easier
Autonomous vehicles -- car, plane, sailing devices -- worry me. Seems like there's a higher risk for error and disaster. But I can get behind robots that make monotonous jobs easier. I'm awaiting one that will do my laundry.
Susan Fogarty
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Susan Fogarty,
User Rank: Author
12/11/2013 | 11:09:46 AM
Re: Robots In Service Jobs
Other people have probably seen this, but I live out in the sticks, so it was new to me. The truck that picks up our garbage recently was upgraded to one with giant arms that reach out and dump the trash cans into the back. Now instead of three poeple riding in every truck, there is only one man driving it. If your trash can is not 3 feet from the curb and facing in the right direction to be picked up, they simply ignore it and keep on driving.
Shane M. O'Neill
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Shane M. O'Neill,
User Rank: Author
12/11/2013 | 11:07:38 AM
Robots are no joke
Some of these jobs, unfortunately, really are better served by robots. Others like pilot, journalist, and pharmacist will become a hybrid -- some automation but mostly human. But the ones that can outright replace humans will do so (sailor, farm worker, warehouse worker). It's easy to say: 'Let the robots do the jobs we don't want if they can do them more cheaply and efficiently.' But there's just so many of us and we all need to work. People rendered useless by robotics will be forced to a life on the fringes, possibly crime.

Robotics and automation are increasingly hot topics. Google's acquisitions, Jeff Bezo's drones tease on 60 Minutes, rampant tech innovation and a sluggish economy are pushing the conversation forward. Five years ago, you joked about a robot taking your job. Now it's not so funny.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
12/11/2013 | 10:38:31 AM
Robots In Service Jobs
I stayed in a hotel in NY this year that had a robot system for storing and retrieving guest luggage. That kind of experience makes you think about what other service jobs will disappear. What is the most unusual robot you have come across lately, readers?
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