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22 safest jobs during the robot revolution

An Oxford University study estimates that 47 percent of current U.S. jobs could be done by computers in as little as two decades. But not all professions are vulnerable to automation.
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1 of 22 Richard Hutchings/Corbis

Veterinarians

A 2013 Oxford University study estimates that 47 percent of current U.S. jobs could be taken over by computers in as little as two decades. But not all professions are equally vulnerable to automation.

One particularly safe field, for example, is veterinary medicine. Pet owners expect a certain level of care and compassion from their vets, especially in times of sickness.

In fact, the Oxford University study estimates the probability of nurses losing their jobs to robots in the next few decades to be a mere 0.9 percent.

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2 of 22 Phil Ramey/RameyPix/Corbis

Recreation workers

Do you dream of working with Tom Haverford, Leslie Knope and Anne Perkins? If so, good news: Robots won't dash those dreams.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.61 percent.

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3 of 22 moodboard/Corbis

Glam squads

Like many other professions that involve creativity and artistry, makeup artistry is unlikely be to commandeered by robots.

Besides, would you let a robot come at your face with a mascara gun and lipstick rollers?

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 1 percent.

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4 of 22 Wolfgang Flamisch/Corbis

Dentists and oral surgeons

Dentistry has seen some amazing technological advancements of late -- you can now have a replacement tooth 3D printed, for example.
But even as this technology improves, it's unlikely any of it will replace dentists themselves.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.44 percent.

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5 of 22 Corey Jenkins/Corbis

Fitness trainers

Automation may be on the rise, but according to the Center for Disease Control, so, too, is the rate of obesity in children and adults.

Wearables and fitness apps address the issue, but there's no automated substitute for the merciless brutality encouragement and accountability that a human personal trainer can provide.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 8.5 percent.

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6 of 22 George Steinmetz/Corbis

Archaeologists

Don't let robots dash your hopes of becoming the next Indiana Jones.

According to Oxford University, archaeologists are at incredibly low risk of job loss due to computerization -- perhaps because their field work is so painstaking and intricate.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.77 percent.

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7 of 22 Dann Tardif/LWA/Corbis

Firefighting supervisors

According to Oxford University, the average firefighter is unlikely (17 percent) to lose a job to a robot any time soon.

That said, the study singles out first-line firefighting supervisors as enjoying an even higher level of job security than the rank and file.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.36 percent.

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8 of 22 Nice One Productions/Corbis

Coaches

A good coach does more than just call plays. They serve as key leadership figures; connect with individual athletes; and provide encouragement and support. That's not a great match for computerization.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple of decades: 1.3 percent.

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9 of 22 B. Boissonnet/BSIP/Corbis

Nutritionists

Obesity rates (and robots' failure to provide a human level of accountability) should protect the nutritionist profession from obsolescence in the near term, too.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.39 percent.

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10 of 22 Tim Pannell/Corbis

Musical directors and composers

Can a machine write a better song than Mozart could? Perhaps someday.

As for the next few decades, writing and performing pop hits, country ballads and more will be the exclusive domain of humans, not computers.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 1.5 percent.

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11 of 22 Marilyn Angel Wynn/Nativestock Pictures/Corbis

Nurses

Nurses provide a certain level of human tenderness, care and emotional support that robots cannot easily replicate.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.9 percent.

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12 of 22 Gaetano/CORBIS

Forester

It's no secret that automation has already done in a number of jobs in the logging industry.

But the Oxford University study seems to put a premium on environmental and conservation efforts, suggesting that the bulk of these automation casualties already have occurred.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.81 percent.

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13 of 22 J. James/Corbis

Floral Designers

It's unlikely that "floral designer" will be a hot growth profession over the next few decades. But it's similarly unlikely that florists will be replaced en masse by robots, either.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 4.7 percent.

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14 of 22 Tina Hager/arabianEye/arabianEye/Corbis

Photographers

These days, cameras are everywhere. But there's a certain amount of skill and creativity necessary to craft a compelling photograph -- just as it takes a trained eye to know what scenes are worth immortalizing.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.9 percent.

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15 of 22 Josef Lindau/Corbis

Architect

That's OK, handsome stock-photo architect: You can sit there looking as aloof as you want.

After all, your job isn't at risk to robots -- success as an engineer requires large amounts of human creativity, artistry and innovation.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 1.8 percent.

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16 of 22 Waltraud Grubitzsch/dpa/Corbis

Multimedia artists and animators

Creative fields such as animation aren't necessarily immune to automation, but they're better protected than most.

After all, a human needs to be involved to make sure that what the computer outputs will look pleasing and be entertaining to other humans.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.9 percent.

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17 of 22 Ben Edwards/Corbis

Physicians and surgeons

Walk in to any operating room in the country, and you'll see plenty of machines performing important, life-saving duties.

But you'll also see plenty of doctors and other medical professionals on hand to operate those machines, ensure they're working properly, and know what to do in emergencies when they're not immediately available for use.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.42 percent.

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18 of 22 Heide Benser/Corbis

Lawyers

We'll concede that a robot would likely have no problem passing the bar exam; it simply needs to be programmed with all the answers.

But when it comes to arguing cases in front of a human judge and jury, robots cannot connect with and persuade people as well as a human lawyer can.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 3.5 percent.

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19 of 22 Tim Pannell/Corbis

Engineers

For the most part, engineers face a relatively low risk of job loss due to automation.

According to the Oxford study, mechanical engineers face one of the lowest rates of automation (1.1 percent), followed closely by chemical (1.7 percent), aerospace (1.7 percent), environmental (1.8 percent) and civil engineering (1.9 percent).

But not all engineering professions are safe: Agricultural engineers have a near 50-50 shot to lose their job to a computer sometime in the next few decades.

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20 of 22 Jason Horowitz/Corbis

Clergy

Few things are more human (and less machine) than faith and a belief in a higher power.

As such, it's unlikely that robots will ever take over houses of worship -- Futurama's Reverend Lionel Preacherbot aside.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.81percent.

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21 of 22 Wavebreak Media LTD/Wavebreak Media Ltd./Corbis

Psychologist

Given the sensitivity and compassion required to deal with mental health issues, it stands to reason that psychologists (and mental health professionals in general) will be relatively immune to the robot revolution.

Psychology Today notes, however, that "robot-enhanced therapy" is yielding promising results with dementia patients and the autistic.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.43 percent.

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22 of 22 Sharie Kennedy/LWA/Corbis

Preschool/Elementary teachers

We concede that the future of the teaching profession will involve plenty of automated learning tools and possibly even telepresence robots.

But full automation? Probably not -- small kids require too much supervision.

The probability of this job being computerized in the next couple decades: 0.44 percent for elementary school teachers; 0.74 percent for preschool teachers.

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