A robot could cut your hair in the future

Posted at 4:21 PM, Jun 07, 2017

When it comes to robots and artificial intelligence, there are a lot of predictions that they could eliminate millions of jobs in the years ahead. Even jobs you might not expect, like a barber.

Simeon Kikirov was born in Russia and moved to America where he now owns his own barber shop. Being a 4th generation barber, Kikirov sees his profession as a highly skilled craft, not a job. Kikirov says, “In my country barbers are very respected.”

But a new report suggests the craft will be automated out of existence within the next two decades. Kikirov says, he’s confused how a robot will manage to do his job. “People’s heads are different shapes and hair grows in different directions, so you have to figure it out on how you can provide this service on the spot. I don’t think robots could analyze that yet at least.”

Other jobs that could be taken over by robots according to the report include, an accountant, a telemarketer, a fast food worker and a postal carrier.

Futurists like Thomas Frey, vary in their assessment of just how many jobs are at risk, but can all agree jobs will change. “That’s where a lot of the messiness comes in predicting this because entire jobs don’t go away, they just get reworked and redefined.”

Frey believes we will start seeing changes in jobs within the next 10 to 20 years.

While the barber as a profession may never go away, certain tasks could. For example, scheduling. A software could take over that task. Also, an assembly line could take over the task of washing clients' hair. As for the actual cutting part of the job, both Frey and Kikirov agree that should never be done by a robot.

Kikirov says, “as a human I still cut people, so if an artificial mind shaving with a straight razor, I would not want that to happen.”

Frey believes that if you are resilient and flexible and the ones who are willing to do whatever it takes to make changes, in the future you should be just fine.