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Gigaom AI Minute – March 22

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In this episode, Byron talks about automation and jobs.


At, there is a ten question test that scores how likely any given job is to be replaced by automation, be it by a computer or a robot. I'm going to spend ten AI Minutes going through the questions one at a time, and why they're on the test.

Question #2: Does the job require you to be in different physical locations, even if it's just different rooms?

You might score this one a 0, the lowest possible score, if the answer is yes. That might be a tour guide. A tour guide obviously has to be in various locations to move around, an interior decorator as well has to go to a client's house and go through different rooms of a house. You might on the other hand score it a 10, the very highest score, if you just stand in one place, or if the employer doesn't know if you're on a beach somewhere. And this could be something like a computer programmer, or again, an order taker at a fast food restaurant. Somebody in the middle might be something like a hospital nurse. They do have to move around from place to place, but it's on a confined track.

And you can understand why this particular question is a good indicator of automation. Automation is very hard to make portable; it's very hard to make things that are able to move around from place to place. A robot plumber, just getting the robot plumber to where it needs to go, up the stairs, into the upstairs bathroom, is a huge difficulty. If the job doesn't require movement, then the whole aspect of it, the batteries and the locomotion behind it, aren't needed, and therefore that job is much easier to automate.

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