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One of the oddest phenomena in human behavior is something known as a gapers block – which is essentially a traffic jam that magically occurs on the opposite side of a highway from a car crash. Nothing is physically present to create a gapers block other than our curiosity to see what happened. Literally we just can’t not look.

I don’t think there’s a better way to describe the past few years of media coverage on job automation. It’s been a complete gapers block. A small portion of retail workers are laid off and everyone’s outlook on the future comes crashing down. We all are susceptible to reading the headlines and thinking we get the whole story from, “47% of US jobs at risk for automation.”

However, I’m particularly glad that a tool called Will Robots Take My Job is available. Basically, it took the occupational automation research of two Oxford professors and turned it into an easily searchable database that tells you the likelihood of a given job being automated, the timeline of automation, and the number of jobs that will be affected. It’s like Google Search for automation.

They’ve also organized the data into different automation rankings charts in all different types of ways that include industry growth, median pay, etc… And if you’d rather look at a macro-level graph of automation risk, then Bloomberg created an interactive graph using the same data.

Once again, though, I remind you that this is a gapers block!

Personally, I believe one should take this “data” with a grain of salt. At they end of the day, these are educated guesses. Honestly, the fact that there are jobs with a 50% rating – also known as the probability of a coin flip – should be indicative of this type of research.

In other words, it should be used as a starting point, not a prophecy.

Obviously, people are going to use this to see if their job is safe. However, the more important use case should be using this “Google Search of Automation” to formulate one’s next career move – especially if their current career is apparently doomed.

This tool makes it extremely easy to align one’s personal interests and abilities with the assessment of automation risk. In other words, the tool that seems to bring doom, also brings hope.

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