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East Anglia Future 50

Will your job be replaced by a robot? The roles most and least likely to be taken over by technology

PUBLISHED: 06:30 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:09 19 February 2019

Will robots take your job? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Will robots take your job? Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

“Will I be replaced by a robot in 10 years time?”

“Will I be replaced by a robot in 10 years time?”

It’s a very simple question – and one which millions of people have Googled in the past year, resulting in the creation of a website where you can find the answer to your question.

Willrobotstakemyjob.com pulls data from 702 occupations and tells you the likelihood, as a percentage, that your contract will one day be replaced by an automated entity.

The site processes the work of Carl Frey and Michael Osbourne, who sought to answer the robo-takeover question – for everyone ¬- in 2013.

Here we talk to some of the people behind the percentages, to see whether they believe they will lose out to the robot revolution.

MORE: Let’s make Norwich a greener, happier, healthier place by 2020

1. Watch repairers

Simon Michlmayr. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYSimon Michlmayr. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

According to Frey and Osbourne, watch makers are the third most likely profession to have their work taken over by robots – at 99pc.

According to the ‘risk level’ on the website, this comes under the ‘you are doomed’ category.

However expert watch and clock repairer Simon Michlmayr, who owns Michlmayr’s in Norwich’s Fletcher Gate, said that automation takeover of the industry was laughable.

“They just can’t do what we do,” he said.

“We train for three years, and even then I wouldn’t let anyone loose on a watch for another two to three. How is a machine going to fix the clock on the Market Square? How is it going to diagnose a problem from a conversation with a customer?”

Mr Michlmayr’s company has achieved membership of the British Horological Institute.

“I can see it perhaps working in the watch making process, because that’s repetitive, mindless work,” he said. “In our line we have to diagnose the problem with each and every watch, and the standards have never been higher.

“I can’t see there being more automation in the industry – the opposite in fact, because we’re constantly looking for available skills.

Abel Homes site manager Alan Read (left) and managing director Paul LeGrice. Picture: ABEL HOMESAbel Homes site manager Alan Read (left) and managing director Paul LeGrice. Picture: ABEL HOMES

“There are only two colleges that offer watch repair courses, producing between 25 and 30 repairers a year. Demand isn’t falling, and standards are getting higher every year.”

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2. Construction labourers

Construction labourers, according to the site, have an 88pc chance of losing their work to machines, putting them under the ‘robots are watching’ category.

Paul Legrice, managing director at Abel Homes, said that robots would only ever serve as an addition to a human workforce, instead of taking over.

He said: “I’ve heard about construction robots within the industry, but I don’t know whether or not we would get the same quality or finish that we do with our skilled bricklayers.

Francis Woolf from Woolf & Social. Picture: Courtesy of Woolf & SocialFrancis Woolf from Woolf & Social. Picture: Courtesy of Woolf & Social

“That could be offset by improvements in how quickly a robot could work, and increase production, but for the time being our priority remains to keep local people employed in the industry by supporting our sub-contractors with apprenticeships.”

He added: “I think improvements in technology are important in moving the industry forward, and I won’t say it’s something we wouldn’t consider using, but for now we’ll watch to see how the technology performs.”

MORE: Future of Norwich survey: What do people love about living here - and what do they want to change?

3. Chefs

Luckily for some, the website says certain industries have nothing to worry about.

One of those is the culinary industry, particularly chefs and head cooks.

Francis Woolf, founder of the Woolf and Social in Norwich, pointed out that although the site says he only has a 10pc chance of being replaced by an automated being, robots are already in the kitchen.

Could you lose your job in the robot revolution? Picture: Getty ImagesCould you lose your job in the robot revolution? Picture: Getty Images

“If you think about it, we’re already losing an army of chefs in the kitchen doing the prep. We’ve got Magimix machines, we’ve got robots which can do the chopping and ovens which can change their heat on their own.”

He added: “But cooking is like any art - it’s made great by the personality behind the creation. Yes, maybe we can one day teach a robot the algorithm for taste - but they’ll never have a palette and experience like chefs do. They’ll never have the knowledge of presentation - I just can’t see it happening.”

What are some other examples?

• Hairdressers - 10pc

• Vets - 4pc

• Computer programmers - 48pc

• Accountants - 94pc

• Graphic designers - 8pc

• Nuclear technicians - 85pc

• Lawyer - 4pc

• Telemarketers - 99pc

• Personal financial advisers - 58pc

• Reporters and correspondents - 11pc

• Police, fire and ambulance dispatchers - 49pc

• Taxi drivers - 89pc

• The Norwich Society and Evening News are holding a public debate about the future of the city at the Forum on Tuesday, February 19 at 6pm. Admission is free, but booking here is recommended.

• Our Future of Norwich takeover week is brought to you in association with Norwich City Council and Norwich Business Improvement District (BID).

• We’d love to know your thoughts - please leave them in the comments below.

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