Robotics: what professions will disappear with robotization?

A team of roboticists from EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and economists from the University of Lausanne have developed a method that makes it possible to calculate the probability that a job will be automated thanks to robotics. This tool also suggests professional retraining presenting less risk. The study entitled ” How to Compete with Bots by Evaluating Task Automation Risks and Resilient Alternatives » was published in Sciences Robotics.

The fourth industrial revolution appeared in 2011. Artificial intelligence and robotics have enabled the design of increasingly autonomous robots, capable of replacing humans in their task.

A profound transformation of the entire economic and productive system is taking shape, questioning the nature of the professions that are destined to disappear. This is the subject of the study by the team from EPFL and the University of Lausanne, which has designed a tool which also offers professional reorientation towards less exposed jobs and requiring little conversion.

Professor Dario Floreano, Director of the Intelligent Systems Laboratory at EPFL and responsible for this study at EPFL, explains:

“There are already different studies that predict how many jobs will soon be robotized, but they all focus on software bots, such as voice and image recognition, financial robo-advisors, chatbots, etc. Also, these predictions vary wildly depending on job requirements and software capabilities. Our study does not only consider artificial intelligence software, but also real intelligent robots that perform physical work. We have developed a method that systematically compares the human and robotic capabilities required in hundreds of jobs. »

Automation risk assessment

In order to assess the Automation Risk Index (ARI) of each job, the researchers referred to the Occupation Information Network (O*NET), a US market database of 967 job profiles. For each job, O*NET provides a profile consisting of a list of required abilities, skills and knowledge. The researchers thus retained 87 human capacities.

Along with human capabilities, they also investigated a set of robotic capabilities that robots and AI are already capable of performing or may be able to perform in the future. For this, they used a list of capabilities defined in the SPARC Multi-Annual Report (MAR), a document published by SPARC, a public-private partnership between the European Commission and EU-robotics, which represents the European robotics industry. robotics. After selectively matching the human abilities from the O*net list to the robotic abilities from the MAR document, the team was able to calculate the likelihood that each existing job would be performed by a robot.

The study ranked the 967 jobs: physicists are the least likely to be replaced by a robot, while people working in slaughterhouses face the highest risk. Generally speaking, jobs in the food industry, building and maintenance, construction and extraction seem to be the most exposed to robotization.

The authors then created a method to find, for any job, the retraining with a significantly lower risk of automation, while being close to the initial job in terms of skills and knowledge required. For this purpose, they used data relating to the American workforce and simulated thousands of professional retrainings based on the suggestions of the algorithm.

Professor Rafael Lalive who co-directed the study at the University of Lausanne, concludes:

“Today, the major challenge for society is to prepare for automation. Our work provides detailed career advice to workers facing high risks of automation, allowing them to choose more secure jobs while reusing much of the skills learned in their previous job. With these tips, governments can help society become more resilient to automation. »

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Robotics: what professions will disappear with robotization?


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