While fears of robots taking the jobs of American workers has been perforating throughout the United States, a news study found just how much of the workforce's responsibilities could be automized.
Almost half of Houston's workplace tasks are susceptible to automation, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program. Of 100 metros analyzed, Houston ranks 31st among the country's 100 biggest metros, with 46.3 percent of work tasks susceptible to automation.
Authors of the study are quick to point out that this doesn't mean human workers will be entirely replaced by robots. Rather, they say, it means at least some of the humans' tasks could be automated.
"While this report concludes that the future may not be as dystopian as the most dire voices claim, plenty of people and places will be affected by automation, and much will need to be done to mitigate the coming disruptions," the authors write.
Across the country, jobs that could encounter the most interference from automation include food preparation worker, payroll clerk, and commuter network support specialist, according to the report.
"Machines substitute for tasks, not jobs. A job is a collection of tasks," the report says. "Some of those tasks are best done by humans, others by machines. Even under the most aggressive scenarios of technological advancement, it is unlikely that machines will be able to substitute for all tasks in any one occupation."
Elsewhere in Texas:
- Dallas ranks 29th among the country's 100 biggest metros, with 46.5 percent of work tasks susceptible to automation.
- San Antonio ranks 41st among the country's 100 biggest metros, with 46 percent of work tasks susceptible to automation.
- Austin ranks 78th among the country's 100 biggest metros, with 44.3 percent of work tasks susceptible to automation.
According to CityLab, the Brookings report shows places where energy jobs are prevalent, such as Houston, will get through the automation period "relatively unscathed," as will college towns and state capitals like Austin. Authors of the report maintain that automation complements human labor.
"Generally, whatever workplace activity isn't taken over by automation is complemented by it — making each remaining human task more valuable. This makes labor more valuable, and the increased productivity generally … translates into higher wages," the report says.
The report indicates that among the 100 largest U.S. metros, Toledo, Ohio, confronts the most potential automation in the workplace (49 percent share of job tasks), while Washington, D.C., faces the least potential automation (39.8 percent share of job tasks).
This story originally ran on CultureMap.