Illah Nourbakhsh considers the most vulnerable jobs:
Robots will be able to fix your car poorly before they can fix it well. They will cook food that is bland and mealy before they garner a Michelin star. But they will take on middle-class jobs and win, not because of their qualitative merits, but because they look good in the antiseptic light of financial balance sheets. Take a look at the new robot Baxter, from Rethink Robotics. It is Baxter’s price tag—$20,000—that makes it potentially revolutionary. The return on investment for a company that replaces a single human employee is realized before year’s end. Does Baxter need to do everything the laid-off human could have done? Not quite. It just has to do enough to justify the replacement: one machine for one warm body’s fractional salary. …
Then there is a more threatening issue: robots are improving in performance far faster than humans. We are stuck with an evolutionary timetable that is glacial, whereas computer vision is rapidly moving from amoeba to insect. We face a future in which robots will be better than humans in entire job categories—that is simply a matter of time.
Previous Dish on the subject here.