The eventual replacement of humans by robots and computers in enough jobs will eventually transform the economic landscape, and this process is already in motion, according to industry observers and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economists at a recent robotics symposium.
Robots will supplant people in corporate call centers and in mid-level positions, including financial and industry analysis, experts say. "Not so many people will be needed to work at H&R Block now that there's software to do our taxes," says MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson. "When I call my cable company in 10 years, I'll most likely be talking to a robot," predicts MIT economist Andrew McAfee. "Unless I have a very sharp accent or a very strange problem, I'll have a robot handling my problem."
MIT economist David Autor cites clerical and administrative support as jobs that will be particularly vulnerable to mechanization. However, he notes that low-skilled and low-salaried occupations should be secure from automation for the foreseeable future, as should high-skilled, high-paying jobs, such as health care providers and high-tech professionals.
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