Experts have long been predicting that many of the jobs people hold today could soon be replaced by automation. With the news last week about self-driving cars expected to be on the roads in five year (according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada) and robots being touted as the caregivers of the future (CBC technology story), it seems like that future is fast upon us.

We’ve already seen how taxi dispatchers are rapidly being replaced by apps that allow customers to connect with cabbies directly. And what happens when the app can simply connect with the car directly? Not only the dispatcher but also the driver become redundant.

According to a study by Oxford University academics, Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, within the next two decades, nearly 50% of all jobs held today will be made obsolete by automation.

They calculate the risk for a staggering amount of occupations, rating them from having a high risk of going extinct to a low risk. The jobs least in danger of automation are those that involve caring for others, persuasion and negotiation skills, social perceptiveness, and fine arts and creativity. You can read the full report here, it opens as a PDF.

But here are the top 10 of each.

10 jobs with the highest risk of becoming obsolete
(99% chance of being automated)

    Insurance underwriters
    Watch repairers
    Cargo and freight agents
    Tax preparers
    Tile examiners, abstractors and searchers
    Library technicians
    Mathematical technicians
    Data entry clerks

10 jobs with the lowest risk
(Less than 1% chance of being automated)

    Teachers (preschool, primary and secondary)
    Fabric and apparel patternmakers
    Athletic trainers
    Emergency management directors
    Anthropologists and archaeologists
    Allied health professionals like occupational therapists, psychologists, podiatrists, speech pathologists and nurses
    HR managers
    Computer systems analysts

Of course, it’s important to remember that technology and the internet create as many new fields of opportunity as they eliminate. Millions are already employed in internet-dependent jobs. Mobile devices and wireless connectivity have revolutionized the way individuals and businesses communicate. Plus, somebody has to provide tech support for when the computers won’t boot up and the robots break down.

10 jobs that used to exist but don’t anymore
20 career paths we said goodbye to in 2014
Disappearing devices: Ten everyday communications tools that will soon be extinct

Peter Harris
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