Automation, the replacement of human labor with technology, is widely seen as one of the biggest challenges facing the labor market today. For many workers this presents a source of stress and insecurity as middle-wage jobs disappear, low-wage jobs become susceptible to technology adoption, and inequality grows within the workforce. Current estimates show the pace of automation is accelerating as the price of industrial robots falls and computers better mimic human behavior. Yet not all jobs are equally replaceable and the impact of automation is not expected to be equitably distributed across economic sectors.
Individual tasks are more likely to be automated than whole jobs. This has both positive and negative outcomes for the labor market. One of the benefits of automation is that it frees workers from having to perform dull, predictable, and repetitive tasks, allowing them to focus more on the creative and analytical aspects of their jobs. Conversely, as tasks are automated, fewer and fewer workers are needed to produce the same output, which leads to the potential for displacement and the need for further training of workers who find their jobs are impacted by automation.
To find out if your job is likely to be automated, KentuckianaWorks has put together the flowchart below. Research has shown tasks most at risk of automation are repetitive, predictable, and can be accomplished following explicit, well-understood rules. These tasks are easily substituted by computers and machines. Tasks least at risk of automation involve problem-solving, creative thinking, analysis, situational adaptability, and in-person interactions. Technology is not advanced enough to replace these tasks.