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Don’t Kid Yourself, A Robot Could Do Your Job: 2015 In Automation

Robots are taking over the workforce. It’s a remarkable showing of human ingenuity–and a huge problem for working Americans.

The next time you’re daydreaming at work, think about the tasks you’ve performed that day. Be honest with yourself about what parts of them have involved skills that you think are unique to human cognition: Empathy, maybe? Creative, nonlinear thinking? Sure. But putting things in a spreadsheet? A robot could do that. Building something? A robot could definitely do that, too. And then remember, the robots don’t stop to daydream.

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In 2015, the pace of automation increased dramatically. The looming promise–and peril–of self-driving cars was the catalyst for much of this attention. And, indeed, that may be the form of automation that initially upends the American landscape. For many people, it will mean a break from boring commutes and an end to the scourge of car-related deaths (which kill as many people as breast cancer or guns in any given year). But there is another side to the story. Just ask the truck drivers: Because of self-driving technology, one of the most common jobs in America is very likely going to disappear. How will the economy absorb these robot-displaced workers?

Most jobs, it turns out, involve a great amount of easily automated busy work. No one is immune, and few tasks are actually not busy work. Even writers are being replaced by machines that can turn out entirely serviceable articles. A world where most of the work is performed by machines could either be a paradise of creativity or a hell of unemployment and income inequality. The solution may be to create a universal basic income. If not that, we’ll need to find another one soon.

1: Robot Buses Are Coming To America, To Pave The Way For Driverless Cars

First, a quiet business park. Next, the world.

2: Yes, Robots Really Are Going To Take Your Job And End The American Dream

Now that machines can diagnose cancer, trade stocks, and write symphonies, they’re not just going to make humans more efficient as they have in the past—they are replacing them entirely and wrecking the economy along the way.

3: This Calculator Will Tell You If A Robot Is Coming For Your Job

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The answer is yes. The real question is when.

4: Why Truck Drivers Could Be The First Casualties Of The Robot Age

Self-driving trucks make so much sense already that it’s a scary time to be one of the millions of Americans who depends on the trucking economy.

5: How The Robots Will Take Your Job And Kill The Economy

The basic contract of working hard and getting paid will keep breaking down—and AI will be to blame.

6: Robots Are Coming to Take Your McJobs

As food and labor costs rise in the restaurant industry, some businesses are looking for technological solutions to the annoying problem of expensive humans.

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7: Think You’re Important At Work? A Robot Could Probably Do Your Job Today

And guess what? It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO or a minimum wage worker.

7: This Weed-Destroying Farm Robot Is Going To Replace Farm Workers

But it also means way fewer herbicides. Maybe the way to chemical-free foods is through more automation.

Our Cities Will Be Beautiful In The Driverless Future—But First We Have To Get There

How can we push past public fear and political red tape to get to the beautiful world that awaits when no one drives anymore?

About the author

Morgan is a senior editor at Fast Company. He edits the Ideas section, formerly FastCoExist.com.

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