THE BLOG
06/12/2013 01:04 pm ET Updated Aug 11, 2013

Will Robots Automate You Out of a Job?

What is robotics?
According to wikipedia.com, robotics is the branch of technology that deals with the design, operation, and application of robots. Robots are automated machines that can take the place of humans in dangerous environments or manufacturing processes, and may resemble humans in appearance, behavior, and/or cognition. Throughout history, robots have been developed to mimic human behavior especially in doing simple repetitive tasks. Robotics is a rapidly growing field, and with new advancements robots can replace basic human functional jobs, domestically, commercially, or militarily, changing the way that we think about work.

Job growth created by robotics. According to International Federation of Robotics, new jobs have been created by robotics. In a study on robotics and job creation, the organization noted that by 2008, 8 to 10 million jobs had been created by robotics and from 2008-2011, 500,000 to 750,000 jobs were created. They project that between 2012 and 2016, 900,000 to 1.5 million additional jobs will be created and between 2017 and 2020, an additional one to two million jobs will be created.

Impact of robotics on careers. As the field of robotics develops, it is important to think about what impact this might have on individual careers. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be an 18 percent reduction in automotive factory jobs by 2018 due to the increase of robotics and automated technologies. Some futurists project that robots will put humans out of work by 2045.

5 Jobs That Could Be Displaced by Robots

1. Home Help. Jobs and tasks may be reduced as more activities are automated and replaced by robots. Robotic vacuums, window cleaners, lawnmowers, pool cleaners, pet care feeders and dusters are just a few of the jobs that can be offloaded from a person to a robot.

2. The Taxi Driver - The autonomous car is not as far off as many think and Google is actively pursuing taxi permits in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Airports already have autonomous people movers between terminals and pilots have auto pilot. This trend could replace not only taxi drivers but also limo drivers, truck drivers and potentially rail. The upside is that drivers can avoid accidents caused by individuals who eat, drink, text and talk on cellphones while driving and it opens up more options for handicapped drivers.

3. The Manufacturing Line Worker - When many people think of manufacturing, they might assume manufacturing is still like the I Love Lucy episode where Lucy and Ethel are line-workers trying to keep up with a conveyor belt pick and packing chocolate candies. Today, many factory worker functions such as welding, painting, assembly, packing, palletizing and pick and place have been replaced by robots. In fact, many factories are almost 100% automated.

4. The Rescue WorkerThe army B.E.A.R. robot helps the army move harmed soldiers out of areas that are under attack. The robot is also used to enter building that are under attack, have poisonous toxins, or potentially explosive materials. The Donkey is an army robot used to avoid sending soldiers into dangerous areas and the Drone is an unmanned aircraft that can be sent into designated enemy areas.

5. The Surgeon. Robotics has been used in healthcare for some time in surgery, rehabilitation, and telepresence. Robots have replaced limbs and assisted babies and elders who have disabilities. The DiVinci surgical system helps train surgeons to be more accurate and precise.

Robotics and job opportunities. Robots are often seen as the cause of job reduction. However according to RobotWorx, robots are creating new job opportunities in manufacturing, business and healthcare. While many of the jobs are technical requiring engineering or computer software background, there are additional job opportunities in management, administrations, sales and marketing.

Why is this important to you? The rapid acceleration of technology is changing the work place, jobs and future career paths. Individuals will increasingly need to prepare themselves to ensure continued employment. This can be achieved by staying on top of industry trends in your sector, learning new technologies, and developing enhanced skills sets.

Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti is a leading thought leader on career development. She is the author of ten books, a regular media contributor, and global speaker. She is a key advisor for recruiting and outplacement firms. Her most recent book is Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders. Tracey is a visiting scholar at Stanford University Media X program, researching the impact of technology on future careers. Find Tracey on Twitter and Facebook.