A report from Bloomberg reveals that smart computers and robots (or automatons) threaten to replace some 700 occupations in the U.S. over the next two decades. More chillingly, these smart machines could eventually replace half the employees in the U.S. workforce.
The job currently most at risk from the ongoing "robot invasion" is that of loan officer. These people stand a 98 percent chance of being replaced by a robot. Daric Inc., an online peer-to-peer lender, already uses an algorithm to identify safe borrowers. Its robot loan officers could be the leading edge of a wave that will eventually automate the job done by human loan officers.
The next most threatened jobs are receptionists and information clerks (96 percent), paralegal and legal assistants (94 percent), retail salespersons (92 percent) and taxi drivers and chauffeurs (89 percent).
Rounding out the top 12 list are security guards, fast food cooks, bartenders, personal financial advisors, reporters and correspondents, musicians and singers and lawyers.
Retail and fast food workers are being replaced by automated systems since a growing number of stores and restaurants now let customers order and pay for food and other purchases via mobile devices. This trend is reducing the need for cashiers, waiters and salespeople.
The imminent arrival of self-driving cars and computer-controlled "transportation pods" are a direct threat to taxi drivers.
Among the jobs least likely to be replaced by robots, however, are those that require manipulation, creativity or social perception.
Bloomberg's report cited an Oxford University study that identified more than 700 occupations at risk of computer automation.