10 careers robots are taking from you

Should we fear the rise of robots? From pharmacists to fast food cooks, here's a look at 10 advancements in technology that could put you out of work.

robots, careers, jobs

There's no doubt that technology breakthroughs have helped make us better at our jobs. Now, however, these breakthroughs could render us obsolete. Here's a look at 10 advancements in robotics that could have dire consequences for humans in those professions.



NASA's Robonaut 2 is the first dexterous humanoid robot to be sent into space. In 2011, R2 travelled to the International Space Station with the intention to help astronauts perform dangerous work and more mundane tasks such as cleaning.

R2 was awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics "Space Automation and Robotics Award" this year.

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ROBOT-Rx is an automated medication dispensing system for storage, selection, return, restocking and crediting functions.

According to the manufacturer, ROBOT-Rx increases medication filling accuracy to 99.9 percent, cuts pharmacist checking labor by 90 percent, reduces technician labor by 72 percent and cuts missing medications by 92 percent.

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Assembly Line Workers

Assembly line worker

Meet Baxter, a humanoid robot developed by Australian roboticist Rodney Brooks of Rethink Robotics. Baxter, which costs $22,000, can be programmed to do simple jobs that haven't yet been automated.

Brooks says that he hopes Baxter can help small companies compete against low-wage offshore labor by accelerating a trend of factory efficiency that's eliminated more jobs in the U.S. than overseas competition has.

Fast Food Cooks

Fast food cook

Flipping burgers may be a thing of the past. Momentum Machines has designed a robot that churns out made-to-order burgers at the rate of 360 per hour, slices the tomatoes and pickles, and even bags the burgers.

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Library aide

In 2012, North Carolina State University unveiled an automated storage-and-retrieval system for its new James B. Hunt Jr. Library. Called the "bookBot," it uses lasers to help students find and pull books off the shelves without the assistance of humans.

The bookBot can store up to 2 million items in a climate-controlled environment and deliver any of them within 5 minutes of a click in the catalog. BookBot is space-efficient, too, requiring only 1/9 the space of conventional shelving. Take a look at a video of the bookBot in action here.

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The idea of autonomous cars, though far from mainstream, was made popular—and possible—by Google's driverless car. The system, which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, most recently made strides in California and Nevada, which passed laws permitting the operation of driverless cars.

In May 2012, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles issued the first license for a self-driven car to a Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental technology.



Would you trust a robot to care for your child? Aeon, a Korean retailer, introduced a robo-nanny in 2008 to watch customers' kids while they shopped.

The robot, which stands 4 feet 7 inches tall, can converse using a limited vocabulary. Children wear badges with barcodes to identify their names to the robot, and the robot has cameras installed in its eyes that snap photos of the children while they play.

Postal Workers

Postal worker

Silicon Valley startup Matternet wants to revolutionize the postal industry by delivering high-value goods such as pharmaceuticals and food to developing countries or rugged locations—not by FedEx, but by drone.

If Matternet's vision is widely adopted, these unmanned quadcopters could pose competition for postal workers everywhere.

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Chicago-based startup Narrative Science made headlines last year when it developed software that writes articles, such as sports stories and financial reports, like a human would.

Forbes, for example, uses the platform to create "computer-generated company earnings previews." And while the software works best for articles based on data sets, it has the capability to adopt to sports lingo, too. For example: "Cincinnati was hot from long range."

Help Desk Workers

Help desk worker

IPsoft's Eliza, developed by a former NYU mathematics professor, is a "virtual service-desk employee" that learns on the job and can answer emails, phone calls and hold conversations.

Eliza can chat in nine languages about anything from the weather to solving complicated technical issues in seconds, which typically take support engineers minutes or hours.

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