How likely is your job to be taken over by a computer?

Greater automation means the boundaries are moving and more jobs could be taken over by a computer

Computers are increasingly taking over many repetitive tasks traditionally done manually, but the boundaries are moving and more jobs could be taken over by a computer than ever thought.

In the past people carrying out business processes or IT work at a business might have feared their role being outsourced to human in a team at a service provider. These service providers could offer a lower cost full –time employee.

Then the internet enabled BPO and IT services to be delivered remotely. Workers then feared that their jobs would be taken over by a lower cost equivalent in a low cost region of the world, working for an offshore service provider. But now even these staff are at threat. This time it is from software robots. Service providers and their customers are automating tasks that were previously carried out by people. Then you have cloud computing, which is reducing the need for every business to develop their own software and is also giving business easy access to software robots.

For example IPsoft has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) platform fronted by an avatar, known as Amelia. The platform can be used for services such as technology helpdesks, contact centres, procurement processing and to advise field engineers, but can complete many more business processes. Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ uses 58cm tall robots in the front office to help customers. A bank spokesman recently said the idea is to improve customer communication. “We can ramp up communication with our customers by adding a tool like this,” he said.

In February 2013 IT industry body Intellect , now TechUK, announced it wanted to raise awareness of the benefits that automation software can bring to UK business.

Intellect says automation software is underused in the UK, which is currently in its early adopter phase. The industry body said businesses are missing out on what it describes as "white-collar automation".

Research by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne in 2013 estimated the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations

The study, The future of employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation, listed the jobs and using a methodology estimated the probability of their computerisation.

See if your job is at risk of being taken over by a computer (0 = non computerisable, 100% = computerisable).

Likelihood that your job will be computerised

Telemarketers 99%
Accountants and auditors 94%
Retail salespeople 92%
Word processors and typist 8%
Machinest  65%
Commercial Pilots 55%
Actors 37%
Firefighters 17%
Chemical engineers 2%
Recreational therapists  0.3%

See full list here.

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