APBuried deep in President Obama's February economic report to Congress was a rather grave section on the future of robotics in the workforce.
After much back and forth on the ways robots have eliminated or displaced workers in the past, the report introduced a critical study conducted this year by the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA).
The study examined the chances automation could threaten people's jobs based on how much money they make: either less than $20 an hour, between $20 and $40 an hour, or more than $40.
The results showed a 0.83 median probability of automation replacing the lowest-paid workers — those manning the deep fryers, call centers, and supermarket cash registers — while the other two wage classes had 0.31 and 0.04 chances of getting automated, respectively.
In other words, 62% of American jobs may be at risk.
"These data demonstrate the need for a robust training and education agenda, to ensure that displaced workers are able to quickly and smoothly move into new jobs," the report states.
Council of Economic AdvisersThe CEA study isn't alone in forecasting robot replacement.
At an annual meeting for the American Association for the Advancement of Science last month, computer science professor Moshe Vardi proclaimed robots could wipe out half of all jobs currently performed by humans as early as 2030.
A separate report from Oxford University in 2013 found 50% of jobs could get taken over within the next 10 to 20 years — a prediction backed up in a McKinsey report released last year, which even suggested today's technology could feasibly replace 45% of jobs right now.
Some occupations will likely stay immune from the trend.
Ian Pearson, author and fellow at the World Academy for Arts and Science, recently told Tech Insider that teachers, police officers, and people in management roles should feel secure in keeping their jobs. All three involve some form of complex human interaction that a machine can't replicate (at least not yet). Low-wage employees who perform the kinds of repeated tasks found on assembly lines are the ones most at risk of replacement.
To help younger job seekers navigate this changing world, the Obama Administration launched the TechHire initiative, "part of which aims to equip 17-29-year-olds with skills necessary for jobs in information technology fields, including software development, network administration, and cybersecurity."
In other words, they want younger employees to stay ahead of the curve of innovation — not for if the robots arrive, but when.