Robots have come to take our jobs
The robots are taking over, but who’s in danger? Image: wk1003mike/Shutterstock

7 jobs robots will steal from us in the future

20 Dec 2016

Technology has opened up a whole world of jobs, careers and opportunities. The tech sector continues to grow and expand rapidly, but which jobs are suffering as a result?

It’s not all rosy in the garden. As the tech sector grows and the internet of things industry becomes more innovative, jobs that were previously only done by mere mortals can now be done by artificial intelligence (AI). While robots won’t be able to truly replace us (hopefully), there are some job sectors that are under threat in the not too distant future.


With the announcement of 23 staff-less libraries due to roll out in Ireland next year, it’s no wonder that librarians are one of the top jobs under threat from a robot takeover. With more technology moving into libraries, the discussion about a fully automated takeover is particularly topical right now. While librarians possess critical skills and expertise that will help them in the fight against full automation, the cost of staffing libraries is continuing to cause problems.


With the rise of self-checkout systems, cashiers have been in danger of being replaced by robots for a while now. Although the automated checkouts still need to be manned, the need for staff will be significantly reduced as more retail outlets adopt the automated cashiers. While it may feel like a long time before we have completely staff-less shops, one café in North Dakota with no staff already opened two years ago, based on an honour system of payments from customers, so the concept might not be as far away as we think.


Temporary jobs they might be, but telemarketer roles are likely to be non-existent in the future. Telemarketers are already being outsourced or replaced with AI machines, which means it’s one of the top jobs in trouble in the next year. However, if you’re thinking this will give you a break from those annoying phone calls, all that will change is the voice on the other end. Maybe we should just unplug the phone.

Photography lab processors

The rise of digital photography has been forcing the photography development career into a dark corner for the past decade. Everywhere you look, there are automated photo kiosks that you can sync with your phone or camera. Most people who still rely on old-fashioned photography film often develop their own photos. There may be someone who mans the photo desk in your local pharmacy or camera shop, but photo processing labs have been all but obliterated already.

Travel agents

Travel agencies took a major hit fairly early on in the recession, with fewer people going abroad. However, even with the economy picking back up, people have become much more internet-savvy when it comes to booking their holidays. Consumers are learning to do their research first and shop around for the best deal, which often doesn’t include going to a travel agent’s office and discussing their holiday plans. Customers also like to have more control over their plans, which leads them to book directly with the airline and hotel, leaving travel agents behind.


Computer technology has already been introduced into the sporting world, with cricket implementing the Umpire Decision Review System and FIFA introducing goal-line technology. With fans constantly arguing about human referees making wrong calls or ignoring game rules, the use of computer systems is becoming increasingly favourable in the sporting world. And, with technology advancing and becoming more sophisticated, referees could fall out of favour compared to their robot counterparts.

Social media managers

While this might surprise some people, the fast evolving tech industry means that as quickly as new jobs can be created, they can just as quickly become a thing of the past. This is where social media managers will soon become obsolete. As more employees – particularly the expanding millennial workforce – become equipped with social media skills, the specific role of a social media expert or manager will soon become obsolete, as most teams will be trained up in social media.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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