I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired in one direction or another, so I thought I’d see if I could find an online robot to handle my column-writing duty this week.
Unfortunately, there weren’t that many bots lined up to handle the task.
Sure, there were a few that seemed sort of promising, if I needed a story to just explain a bunch of numbers or compile some basic info on something that happened.
But that’s not what this is about. This is about thinking, and feeling, and speculating, and dreaming, and putting all that into some kind of coherent form and hoping you’ll like it.
I couldn’t find a robot to do that.
So I did some more research, to see how long this would be the case.
I found a site called “Will Robots Take My Job?” at willrobotstakemyjob.com.
Its developers took data from a 2013 report by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne titled “The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?” and extracted it to allow users to find the probability of their jobs being automated.
Frey and Osborne used something called a Gaussian process classifier — which I did not look up — to estimate probabilities for 702 different occupations.
“According to their estimates, about 47 percent of total U.S. employment is at risk,” the site notes.
So I searched for reporter and found the “reporters and correspondents” category, defined as individuals who “collect and analyze facts about newsworthy events by interview, investigation or observation” and “report and write stories for newspaper, news magazine, radio or television.”
The probability that robots will take the job over — 11 percent, or a “no worries” automation risk level, according to the site. Good deal.
Others of us might have reason to worry, though.
Butcher? Baker? Candlestick-maker? Not good — 93 percent for butchers and meat cutters (“You are doomed,” the site states), 89 percent for bakers (“Robots are watching”), and I really couldn’t find a match for candlestick-maker, to tell you the truth.
Most doctors — general practitioners, anyway — seem safe, with only a 2 percent chance of automation. Lawyers too, at 3.5 percent.
What does it mean? Probably not much. A fully automated future’s still a long way off, right?
I hope so. I don’t like to think about a world where I interact with machines more than people. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a break and recharge my batteries.
(JARED NELSON is the editor of the Princeton Times Leader, a member of the Kentucky New Era Media Group.)