Can a Robot do Your Job?

by Matt Klassen on January 29, 2016

openingremarks51__01__614x520@2xOne could argue that a robot has now given practically every auto insurance agent a swift kick out the door, a sign that even white collar jobs are at risk of robotic automation. Now technically Snejina Zacharia’s start-up Insurify isn’t an insurance company, but rather like many other websites in a variety of other industries, the technology she has developed helps the user sort through an ocean of competing companies, their premiums, and their oft-confusing coverage plans, finding you the best coverage at the best price. Think of it as Kayak or Trivago for auto insurance.

The result of this automation is the creation of “Evia,” short for “expert virtual insurance agent,” and it will likely make regular insurance advisors (not insurance companies, mind you) obsolete. Simply snap a picture of your license plate and text it to Evia, answer a few questions, and milliseconds later you have quotes from 82 insurances companies. Or rather, it does everything a regular insurance agent does, just “faster, smarter and cheaper.”

While this doesn’t necessarily mean a looming unemployment crisis thanks to our new robot overlords, it is a clear sign of what robots are capable of, and that more jobs than simply blue-collar manufacturing and the like are at risk of being usurped by the impending robotic revolution.

Now this really isn’t anything new, Accountants have been fighting against the automated incursion of their industry for years now, as more and more people turn to accounting software instead of their local money manager. Not only that, but with driverless car technology on the horizon, we could be looking at a complete overhaul of the shipping and transportation industries as well.

Here’s one that you likely won’t cry about, the law profession is undergoing significant change, many now employed advanced algorithms to do the jobs of a legion of researchers and other law professionals.

Think your creative skills are safe from automation? Think again, as tech start-ups are creating platforms to help you choose your make-up, your clothes, and even operate as expert interior designers.

In fact, the BBC has generated an interesting website that estimates the likelihood of your job being taken over by a robot or some sort of automated process. As CNET’s Max Taves explains, “Jobs like telephone sales people, typists, bookkeepers, bank and post office clerks are among the most likely to be automated out of existence.”

Back to the automation of the auto insurance broker for a moment, as Zacharia, like many others working on robotic automation, has little to say on whether or not her creation will take away jobs from humans, arguing instead that industries like auto insurance are in desperate need of overhauls similar to what we saw in the travel industry a decade ago, with sites like Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, and others now prevalent (and travel agents still have jobs too!).

With that said, will some lose their jobs to a coming robotic revolution? Undoubtedly, but perhaps that’s simply necessary collateral damage as industries embrace the benefits automation can bring…hollow succour to those who get handed their pink slips from a machine of course.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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