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Fri, Jun 24th - 9:53AM

Could your job be replaced by a robot or computer program?
This is an interesting question and to have fun with it I am going to go down a list of possible careers.

Accountant - Could Toronto accountants some day be replaced by computer programs? I think so. Erase the middle man. As businesses continually use wired transfers of funds, a website like PayPal for example might in the future offer an accounting service which is "free" and erases the need to hire a regular accountant. Same goes when you are doing your income taxes. We already have computer programs which can do it for you.

Actor - In theory actors could never be replaced... but what if we created digital versions of Marilyn Monroe? Its not like she had children who would be upset by someone using her face, name and digital voice... so its certainly a possibility. Even the voice could be digital recreated using records of Marilyn Monroe's real voice.

Architect - I would argue no. Architects are too much like artists. But it would be possible to create a program which simplifies the engineering aspects of architecture so that people don't need an engineering degree to design a building. Such a program, ie. "Sim Architect", would also run simulations to see if the building could withstand earthquakes, flooding, wind damage and attack by a Godzilla like monster.

Bookkeeping Clerk - Diddo on the accountant. Really whats the difference?

Carpenter - Well... what if in the future houses were pre-assembled in a factory using robots and then shipped in smaller pieces, assembled by cybernetic organisms (Terminators anyone?). The same rule applies to furniture and other forms of carpentry. So someone who does Ottawa roofing or windows or whatever would be put out of a job by a team of robots who could do the job more efficiently with no coffee breaks.

Chemist - Hmm... robots mixing chemicals in proper proportions in a lab, eliminating the hands on human approach? Yes, doable. They could be told to do hundreds of chemistry tasks per day.

Childcare Worker - Probably much more difficult to do this one... but who knows. Remember that TV has been raising American children since the 1950s.

Computer Engineer - Obviously not. Not unless they design Artificial Intelligence that can create better versions of itself.

Court Reporter - Yup, easily done. Just stick several video cameras in there to watch the proceedings, a computer algorithm to determine what things said were most important and a series of editing software to whittle it down a bit.

Dancer - Yes, I think it would be possible to create robotic dancers.

Doctor - This is certainly a field where robotic surgeons are making headway, but diagnosing patients is another matter. The best a computer program could do is determine possible diagnoses and recommend tests to determine which diagnosis is accurate.

Economist - Yes, a computer program could be designed to predict this. Very complicated and yet to be done, but certainly a possibility.

Electrician - Same goes with carpenters. A robot could totally do it.

Farmer - Yes, robotic farmers. Up all night and all day tending the crops. Might even scare the rabbits away.

HR Staff - Who would need human resources in a world full of robots, computer programs and engineers?

IT Staff - Will we need people to fix the machines? Yes. We have yet to build machines which last indefinitely and work perfectly. But maybe we can someday design machines which fix and oil themselves.

Judge - This is certainly a possibility, especially for traffic court. But cases where the question of humanity comes into play a proper judge would be better. I'd argue however that we should stricter controls on watching courts for signs of corruption or judges under too much stress.

Lawyer - Yes, get rid of all the lawyers and their high fees.

Librarian - Easily done.

Massage Therapist - Yes, I could see a robot doing that.

Musician - Possible. Don't see why not. Just have to play the notes they're programmed to do. Don't even need the musical instrument.

Nurse - See doctor above. Robotic nurses might be better and less likely to mistreat / ignore patients, especially in elderly homes.

Olympic Athlete - Well obviously these would have to be human... but what happens if watching robot sports become more popular than watching human sports?

Photographer - Like the artist, impossible to replace.

Real Estate Agent - No robot needed, a computer program could do this just by itself. Matching buyers with sellers.

Robotics Engineers - Well we will definitely need whole armies of these guys. Somebody has to design them in the first place.

Veternarian - See doctor. A robotic vet could do some of the jobs a regular vet does. Especially rabies shots and neutering.

Volcanologist - Might actually be better to have robots warning us about when volcanos might erupt. Takes out the human error and ego problem. Same goes with earthquakes.

Website Designer - Yes, computer programs are already designing websites using templates... but they look horrible compared to anything made by a professional.

Zoo Keeper - Robots feeding the lions? Yup, totally doable.

Okay so what is left for humans to do? Sit around in our sunrooms and play on the internet? Fix robots? Rebet against the Terminators / Robo Cops of the future? Make art, dance, play music and frolick.

Maybe. Or maybe we will become space explorers because we're bored of this robot filled planet. Difficult to say.

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