How to prevent robots from taking your job

Key is for workers to futureproof themselves by identifying irreplaceable value they can offer

A robot serving a birthday cake to restaurant patrons in Britain earlier this month amid the coronavirus pandemic. An OriHime-D robot developed by Ory Laboratory at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone headquarters in Tokyo earlier this month. A robot
A robot working at a factory of Glory, a manufacturer of automatic change dispensers, in Japan in 2015. While it may be years before robots can effectively replace human workers, employers and workers in Singapore could consider how technology and innovation can be used to increase productivity and save on manpower costs, says the writer.PHOTO: REUTERS
A robot serving a birthday cake to restaurant patrons in Britain earlier this month amid the coronavirus pandemic. An OriHime-D robot developed by Ory Laboratory at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone headquarters in Tokyo earlier this month. A robot
A robot serving a birthday cake to restaurant patrons in Britain earlier this month amid the coronavirus pandemic.PHOTO: REUTERS
A robot serving a birthday cake to restaurant patrons in Britain earlier this month amid the coronavirus pandemic. An OriHime-D robot developed by Ory Laboratory at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone headquarters in Tokyo earlier this month. A robot
An OriHime-D robot developed by Ory Laboratory at the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone headquarters in Tokyo earlier this month.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

You probably think that the most important person in a restaurant is the chef. After all, a good one can make excellent dishes that will attract hordes of hungry diners.

But it seems not all chefs are equal - some of those in dim sum restaurants in China have become the first batch of workers to get the boot because they are being replaced by machines that can supposedly churn out dumplings that are just as good.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 18, 2020, with the headline 'How to prevent robots from taking your job'. Print Edition | Subscribe