The “Terminator” franchise imagines a future where robots are out to kill humans, but in reality, they’re just out to make us feel professionally useless. The more advanced we get as a society, the less we actually need people to do stuff. And it’s not just menial jobs — nobody is safe from android-induced early retirement. Here are 17 jobs that may never be performed by a human again.
1. Fast Food Worker
Momentum Machines just unveiled a robot capable of flipping burgers and slicing veggies at a rate of one burger every 10 seconds. All those teachers who told you that you’d wind up flipping burgers for the rest of your life? They were wrong, actually.
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Burger flipping requires less skill than gourmet cooking, right? The difference is minimal to a motherboard. 3D printers are already creating culinary masterpieces from scratch with expert precision. Restaurants will start to replace chefs with robots when the technology gets cheaper. And as soon as there’s a 3D printer with spiky hair and a flaming bowling shirt, they will replace our Food Network personalities, too.
Self-driving cars are an example of science-fiction coming true — and that will put bus drivers, taxi drivers and even driver’s ed teachers out on the streets. No word yet if robo-taxis come with built-in B.O.
First the internet destroyed newspapers, and soon computers will finish the job by making even online journalists obsolete. The Associated Press will use robots to write articles, and if you think movies are formulaic now, wait until Final Draft screenwriting software becomes self-aware.
Doctors and surgeons go through years of expensive training in order to save lives, but a combo of medical record clouds and robotic surgeons could eliminate the need for human medics. All they’ll have left is bad handwriting, cocky attitudes and dozens of payments left on their Porsches.
7. Sex Workers
Auto-Tune was the beginning, but robotic opera singers and pop music automation are already here. Soon, computers will be able to write, perform and predict the formula of hit songs. If you think some pop stars are manufactured now, what if they were literally built in a factory?
The last bastion of the college philosophy major, baristas already work with machines all day. Soon, the human touch may be removed altogether. Coffee robots are here, and if they can create a latte faster than a human, most customers will be clamoring for an automated java experience. Hopefully they will spell your name right, finally.
The era of the military pilot is probably here, due to drones. And now that drones can fly over land in the U.S., commercial flight pilots might be similarly replaced. Would you rather put your life in the hands of a guy telling you that you can see Iowa from the starboard window, or a navigation system that may be determining potential strike targets for Skynet?
Computers hold all of our knowledge anyway, so this is pretty much inevitable. A robot teacher could simply recite Wikipedia articles, break up fights, send kids to the robo-principal — all without a teacher’s union. No need to bring an apple to teacher if your teacher IS an Apple.
Already an endangered species, cashiers are on the way out, thanks to self-checkout robots. As soon as they add anti-shoplifting laser beams, stores will run themselves.
You already do most of your banking through the ATM, and robots may replace the few human tellers left. Though, it’s common to argue that the most successful people in the finance sector aren’t human as it is.
Bartending is an art — mixing cocktails, listening to problems, giving the bums-rush to drunks. But in truth, if you simply hitch the soda guns and those upside-down Jäger machines together, you’ve got a robo-mixologist. Slap a bow tie and a vest on it, and give it the ability to go, “Uh huh, I see. Tell me more.” That’s game over.
Robots can fly a plane and perform surgery better than humans, but only we can create beautiful works of art, right? Nope, robots are already there. Now that machines can paint, draw and sculpt, your art degree became even less useful.
17. Robot Engineer
The ultimate science-fiction nightmare: Robots that can build themselves. As you can see above, it’s already happening. Plus, the company that invented Siri built an artificial intelligence that can program itself. No one is safe from the robo-takeover, not even the nerds who built the computers in the first place.