If you looked into a crystal ball, what would you see? Robots.
No you did not misread, and yes, we mean robots, aka those machines often made out of metal with a computer for a brain and lacking in human emotion. Our most fierce competition to secure certain jobs in the future. Do you think you will make the final cut down the track in your chosen career? Or will a robot be chosen over you?
Don’t panic yet though, robots walking amongst us is still a long way off. What has become acknowledged is how fast and intelligent technology is becoming. When you think about the things we use regularly, you can start to see a pattern. GPS has already replaced maps, the iPhone has replaced a camera, notepad and game console. Even the highly anticipated new hoverboards mean we no longer have to walk.
“Information software that previously had to be managed on computer engines the size of a large room, can now be stored onto a microchip the size of your fingernail. It’s crazy how far technology has come, but it’s only going to get more advanced,” Mr Arman Purcell, a mechanical engineer graduate told The Newsroom.
Mr. Purcell said it’s “likely” many jobs today will not exist for humans 20 years from now, possibly sooner. Here are some of the jobs at risk:
Postal Service Workers: Aside from the obvious reason that letters are being replaced by email now-a-days and digitalisation in general, postal deliveries by unmanned drones are already being tested, putting the humble posties job at risk.
Customer Service/Cashiers: Self checkout machines are already popular at grocery stores; it’s only a matter of time before fast-food chains, banks, and retail stores replace their workers with self-serve kiosks.
Receptionists: Once upon a time when you called a company, you spoke to a real person. These days, more often than not, you’re on the phone with a voice automated machine saying things like: “If you require assistance press 1”. Voice automation is on the rise.
Drivers/Pilots: Self-driving car tests have been occurring for years. Car manufacturers are competing to release the first self-driving car. Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, has tweeted that he expects Uber’s fleet to be driverless by 2030. The service will then be so inexpensive and ubiquitous that car ownership will become obsolete.
Cleaners: There’s already machines like the iRobot being sold; a self-automated vacuum that can navigate its way around your house: technology that means cleaners might have to think of a new career.
Soldiers: As frightening as it might sound, a nation’s army could be fully replaced by an army of robots in the future. A decision to better protect human life or be more efficient during times of war? A clone war might be inevitable.
Doctors/Nurses: If a robot can be programmed to make human decisions, then it’s likely they can evolve to recognise a patient’s symptoms, perform surgery, and organise patient medication dosage without the human error factor.
Many major films set in the future touch on the idea that human workers will one day be unnecessary. The film Elyisum depicted robots holding jobs as government workers and police officers. Eagle Eye followed the story of a computer intelligent enough to make make decisions in war. Pixar’s Wall-E saw robots as pilots, cleaners, beauticians, etc. And the blockbuster Interstellar had the protagonists have a robot companion named “TARS” that was able to hold a conversation with humour and sarcasm.
A-listers and celebrities will probably not be replaced by robots. Let’s be real, not just any ordinary robot can replace people like Justin Bieber, Oprah Winfrey or Beyonce.
So what can you do? One option is to just hope that your chosen career still requires humans in the far future. The better choice is to evolve with the inevitable.
“Schools will need to place a greater focus on skills that will enable the next generation to benefit from the evolution of technology instead of merely getting swept aside,” CEO of SeedInvest, Ryan Feit told Fortune magazine.
In other words, study hard so you become indispensable. – Xantre Macareaeg
Top photo of Robbie the Robot from Dave Mathis’ Flickr photostream.