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Could You Lose Your Job To A Computer

(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Since the advent of smart computers, people have always said they will take over. Look at the grocery store and some department stores with the self check out. Auto assembly lines too. There are some jobs safe from computer take over.

Frank Levy and Richard J. Murnane, authors of The New Division of Labor: How Computers Are Creating the Next Job Market, computers excel at “jobs that can be described as a series of logical rules.”  A “series of rules” goes something like this:

  • First, check to see if…
  • If yes, then do this; if no, go to this step…

These two guys say that’s why computers could take over checking you on the airplane, assembly work, and more and more office work. If it can be programed with rules, it can do it. but the authors also say there are three rules that dictate you will keep your job.

1. Identifying and solving new problems. This is something that is all human. Right now a computer can’t do that, it has to be able to check a list of rules.


2. Engaging in complex communication—verbal and non-verbal—with other people in jobs like leading, negotiating, teaching, and selling. You can order on computers but someone can not sell you something, talk you into something. Wink an eye at you or flirt with you.


3. Many “simple” physical tasks central to janitorial work, waiting on tables, and other service work. It’s just too hard to program rules to make it work. So, waitress jobs are ok for now. I don’t think we will be watching robot sports soon either.

Still, it makes you scared that any day a computer could come in and take your job. I read an article the other day that said if you could say how the computer could do your job, you will be one of the people that will lose your job to a computer.

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