It’s a hard time to be employed. With employment, after all, comes the constant threat that today might be the day your job is stolen by a robot. The news fairly thrums with warning knells from on high, gravely advising the employed masses that their jobs are in imminent peril from clanking, clever cyborgs on a relentless march forward to swipe their livelihood.
Futurist and Silicon Valley exec Martin Ford, whose book Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future struck fear in the hearts of many when its 2015 publication got explicit about whose work was on the chopping block, says the jobs most at risk are those that are, on some level, “routine, repetitive and predictable.”
But fear not, gentle operative. All is not lost in this brave new world. Or at least not if you’re among the select few whose occupations have been deemed safe from mechanical takeover.
Without further ado, the list of so-called “resilient” jobs, whose continued lodging in the “flesh-and-blood worker” column is, at least for now, somewhat assured.
Ford classifies resilient jobs in three areas.
For one, the jobs that involve “genuine creativity” are probably safe from automation’s grip (though Ford notes that he “can’t guarantee you that in 20 years a computer won’t be the most creative entity on the planet”). Consider:
- Clever entrepreneur
- The idea guy coming up with cool names for lipsticks and crayon colours.
Also provisionally safe? Occupations that have at their heart complex relationships with people.
- Business roles that require the cultivation of close relationships with clients
- Chatty hairdresser.
Finally, jobs that are highly unpredictable or extremely critical to society’s ongoing well-being may be safe from the (digitally programmed) axe. Think, here, about roles like:
- Emergency room doctor
- Plumbers in remote locations
- Inground pool installers
- Reality-TV consultants.
But as reassured as you might feel to find your profession on this “protected-from-extinction” list, professor Richard Susskind, author of The Future of the Professions and Tomorrow’s Lawyers, advises that no workers should let down their guard. Machines, after all, are already painting gallery-worthy art and composing original tunes. How they might further upend the working world? Anyone’s guess.