risk level
Based on 947 votes
by year 2032
or $68.67 per hour
as of 2022

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Automation risk

0.0% (Minimal Risk)

Minimal Risk (0-20%): Occupations in this category have a low probability of being automated, as they typically demand complex problem-solving, creativity, strong interpersonal skills, and a high degree of manual dexterity. These jobs often involve intricate hand movements and precise coordination, making it difficult for machines to replicate the required tasks.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some very important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Originality

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Social Perceptiveness

  • Persuasion

User poll

19.3% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted there's a minimal chance this occupation will be automated. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 0.0% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Physicists will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?


The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (yearly)


Fast growth relative to other professions

The number of 'Physicists' job openings is expected to rise 8.2% by 2032

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.


Very high paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Physicists' was $142,850, or $68 per hour

'Physicists' were paid 208.5% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $46,310

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Lower range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2022 there were 18,840 people employed as 'Physicists' within the United States.

This represents around < 0.001% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 7 thousand people are employed as 'Physicists'.

Job description

Conduct research into physical phenomena, develop theories on the basis of observation and experiments, and devise methods to apply physical laws and theories.

SOC Code: 19-2012.00


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Leave a comment

9 (No chance) says
We teach AI. That's how it understands. Although it can learn, it can't accumulate pure factual knowledge by itself.
Nov 14, 2023 at 08:02 AM
Jamie (Highly likely) says
Hard science fields will be the easiest fields for AI to take-over.
Jun 18, 2023 at 12:03 PM
MainEditor says
But if AI can do hard science why it wouldn't as easy do soft science?
Mar 14, 2024 at 06:20 PM
Zuzia (Moderate) says
AI can already teach itself new things and it escalates very quickly, it probably will be able to analyze all the knowledge we have on Earth and come to some important conclusions.
Jun 07, 2023 at 02:40 PM
Samuel (No chance) says
It requires thinking outside the box, solving new problems, writing new programs. It has already implemented computers for calculations.
May 25, 2023 at 09:40 PM
Toast (No chance) says
Being a physicist requires, at least to a certain degree, being able to come up with purely original ideas, rather than interpolating the existing body of knowledge.
Feb 24, 2023 at 02:04 AM
Quarked_Out (Low) says
Hmm, a lot of areas in physics do incorporate ML techniques and AI to some degree. However, people with physics training play an undisputedly dominant role in research.

If anything, I can see some simulation aspects or redundant experimental procedures being automated in the near term. But parts that incorporate creative problem solving or the physical intuition needed in determining directions to take research are things that are pretty safeguarded to humans for a bit.

I think those "intuitions" are very difficult to map to general problem-solving algorithms.
Feb 02, 2023 at 12:42 AM
Brian (No Chance) says
Many other experimental physicists and I already automate every measurement we can, but there is still plenty of work to do.
Oct 25, 2022 at 05:51 PM
David (No chance) says
I wonder what all those people were thinking when they said there was a realistic possibility that physicists will be obsolete in 20 years. That's absurd on its face and every physicist I have ever met would agree.

We can have a discussion on whether it is possible in the next 200 years, sure, but 20 years? That's laughable. Given that only physicists are qualified to write, train, and optimize the algorithms that would be used to replace them, it will take a long, long, long time.

I suspect that we would need true machine sentience before we could actually start to talk about replacing theoretical and mathematical physicists.
May 29, 2022 at 05:30 AM
Bimsara Bodaragama (No chance) says
It's more about intuition and innovativeness. Of course, we will use more tools, but with Physics, since we interpret as we observe (there is a little problem with that conclusion, though), AI may not be able to take it over.
Mar 29, 2022 at 06:37 PM
Wesley I (No chance) says
I believe that it will be possible but not for a very long time, the process of positing new questions and then solving them is rather complex and I'm guessing that it will be at least 100 years before the jobs of theoretical physicists start to become threatened.
Aug 30, 2021 at 01:48 PM
just bored (No chance) says
Even though computers may get more intelligent than us humans, there is still a very small chance because computers don't have the basic questioning ability which we humans have
Jun 23, 2021 at 08:02 AM
Rowan (Uncertain) says
The development of AI is rapidly improving, AI maybe 10 years in the future being able to predict or understand the universe better through random generation or pure knowledge is very probable. However I doubt they will replace Physicists in the near decade it should be very increasingly possible.
Mar 23, 2021 at 03:36 PM
rafel says
We are users of AI to improve some calculations and we need robots and AI for experimental precision and performance. Until the singularity, we will be in charge.
Mar 18, 2021 at 08:36 PM
Pinaki Patra says
A huge section of theoretical physicists do algorithm based research, which can easily be replaced by automation.
However, Philosophy based theoretical research is difficult to be replaced.
Feb 08, 2021 at 07:08 PM
Physics Boi (Low) says
Doubt it, anyway we need physicists to understand what the AI is discovering anyway
Jan 06, 2021 at 08:16 AM
Anonymous (No chance) says
It is scientifically proven that the human brain is MUCH more complicated than any AI, and it is very hard for AI to ask a question and solve it on their own, so I think AI stands no chance on taking over the complex job of science.
Dec 28, 2020 at 01:45 PM
Tom (No chance) says
Whilst experimental physics can be automated, I doubt theoretical physics will be automated
Aug 07, 2020 at 12:20 PM
Mark (No chance) says
Most physicists I know are already good with experimental automation and AI and there's still plenty of work for everyone.
Jul 20, 2020 at 04:55 PM
Nine says
Scientific discovery can be easily automated. It has a rather rigorous process. And if not, then the computer can use randomness like humans do.
Feb 26, 2020 at 10:24 PM
No Nine says
Computers use "seeds" as a way to "randomize" events. As soon as the seed is known, randomness is no more useful. The randomness of computers is limited, is false.
Jan 18, 2021 at 03:39 AM
Me (Low) says
Too chaotic
Dec 07, 2019 at 01:08 AM

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