A customer of an Australian bank withdraws money from an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) next to a Bitcoin ATM at a shopping mall in central Sydney, Australia, October 1, 2015. Credit: DAVID GRAY | REUTERS

It’s Oct. 21, 2015, the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown traveled to from the past in the 1989 film “Back to the Future II.” What a good time to talk about automation. Here’s a chart of the jobs least and most subject to automation, as determined by a Pew Research Center survey of nearly 1,900 experts.


As you would expect, computers can more easily perform the tasks of workers who do repetitive tasks, such as bookkeepers, secretaries and bank tellers. It’s a problem mostly for blue-collar workers.

Is there hope? It depends on who you ask.

About half of the experts in the survey (48 percent) envisioned a future where automation significantly displaces workers, likely leading “to vast increases in income inequality, masses of people who are effectively unemployable, and breakdowns in the social order,” according to Pew.

Meanwhile, the other half of the experts (52 percent) thought that, while technology would certainly take over many jobs, it would not displace more jobs than it created. They had “faith that human ingenuity will create the jobs, industries, and ways to make a living, just as it has been doing since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.”

Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda

Erin Rhoda is editor of Maine Focus, a journalism and community engagement initiative by the Bangor Daily News.