Demika Alston was a teenager when she was hired at Au Bon Pain as a cashier. Through the years, she climbed up to general manager.
There were other changes during that time too.
Catering orders moved online, kiosks that could answer customers’ questions were installed and meal-taking iPads arrived. Many of Alston’s co-workers were laid off. Then she was.
“I was one of those people who got caught back then,” Alston, 46, said.
Certain people will feel the pain of automation more acutely than others, according to a new report by the Brookings Institution, titled, “Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How Machines Affect People and Places.”
Many food preparation, office administration and transportation jobs will be taken over by machines. Highly creative or technical positions are most likely to prevail, along with personal care and domestic service jobs that require interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, the researchers found.
Low-wage earners will be among the first to see their jobs disappear, since many of their tasks are routine-based.
“If your job is boring and repetitive, you’re probably at great risk of automation,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a co-author of the report.
Degrees appear to be a partial shield against robots: more than half of jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree are at risk of automation, compared with just a quarter of jobs that do.
“These technologies are likely going to benefit those who are well-trained,” Muro said. But, he added, “Virtually all jobs are going to begin to experience some pressure from automation.”
Chanda Wade, who has a bachelor’s and master’s degree, can attest to that uneasy reality. She noticed that Cielo Talent, the recruitment company at which she worked, was moving to automate most of her tasks.
Algorithms scanned resumes for desired keywords, and chat boxes arranged interviews with candidates.