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Posted June 24, 2014

Google is developing driverless cars, the airlines are considering replacing pilots with robots, Amazon is planning for the use of delivery drones, and sophisticated websites like Zillow are reducing the need for realtors. In fact, many professions within the real estate industry face a “better than 85 percent chance of future job loss” according to a recent University of Oxford study on technology and employment.

Richest man in the world Bill Gates, an intellectual who has extensively studied technology and its implementation into the job market, has said that software will begin to reduce the demand for many jobs in the next 20 years, particularly at the lower end of skill sets.

What does this mean for the dental industry and how will dental jobs be affected? Let’s take a closer look.

Jobs Speculated to be taken over by Robots (Software Automation)

The Economist created a list of jobs that will likely be taken over by software automation, or bots, that run from low-skill jobs such as telemarketers and retail salespersons but also highly-regarded positions such as accountants, technical writers and real estate agents. All of these jobs face an 85 percent chance (or more) of being automated by a software program that can easily be performed by sophisticated algorithms.

The one thing that all of these jobs have in common is that they all consist of tasks of well-defined procedures that data-crunching computers may soon replace.

Will Dental and Medical Jobs Survive?

Dentists did make the list of jobs referenced on the automation list, but the likelihood that these professionals will be replaced by machines is less than one percent (0.004). Dentists and other occupations that take advantage of uniquely human traits are unlikely to be replaced by computer software given the human nature of the work.

Are Others in the Dental Industry at Risk?

Dental jobs that involve manual dexterity, face-to-face settings and human interaction are unlikely to be phased by the forecasted trends in software automation. However there are lots of skill sets where the demand for labor will be “substantially lower,” says Gates, and these are the types of jobs employers and more importantly, employees, should be aware of.

For now the dental industry seems to be in a good place but all professionals in all industries should keep a close eye on the growth of software automation and accept that it will be increasing in all of our lives. Working with intelligent software and complementing its role in the workplace may prove to be a valuable asset to have in the very near future.