Jobs of the future – Here comes A.I.
Jobs of the future, the robots are coming
There has been much talk in certain groups about the advent of AI or artificial intelligence but it still has yet to become a mainstream conversation. In fact most people I discuss the topic of automation or AI with feel it is a far-fetched idea and will never happen in our lifetime. When in fact it has been here for many years and the jobs of the future are going to be very different than what we are used to.
Often this discussion is started when I talk about college degree choices with people who have children considering a career path and picking college majors. The facts are technology has been picking up momentum since the 90’s with the invention of the internet and when personal computers became a household staple. Also, our “smartphones” have increased in features and computing power dramatically. The theory is called Moore’s law, which claims technology doubles every two years and much like compound interests this can pick up steam rather quickly.
When picking a career field and committing to 2-8 years of college, and tens of thousands of dollars, it is pretty important to consider the long-term viability of the chosen career.
Up until now most jobs that have been taken by “robots” have been fairly basic tasks. Do you remember a time before ATM machines? I do, you would walk into a bank branch and a row of human tellers would dispense your cash and complete your transaction. Now, most of my transactions are done online and for many other people ATMs, direct deposits/withdrawals are the main interactions they have with a bank. So not all bankers have been eliminated but I would guess 80% are no longer needed.
Uber has decimated the taxi industry, Airbnb is taking aim at hotels, the internet killed the newspaper, yellow pages, and many other businesses. I myself used to be a lineman for the phone company hooking up landlines, remember those, well, cell phones have had their way with them. Since then the phone company has been shrinking its workforce and eventually you will see very few technicians left, especially with copper lines being replaced by fiber optics which do not corrode and aside from getting cut rarely have any issues.
Fast food restaurants are working toward touch screens for you to place your order and eliminating wait staff and order takers. Now again you may say well those are easy jobs and they do not affect me, you just wait, the robots are taking aim at higher paying careers next.
Financial advisors are being replaced by robo-traders like Betterment
Lawyers are in trouble since computers can study case-law in seconds instead of days and new apps are fighting traffic tickets, researching cases, and generating boilerplate contracts for everyday legal needs like wills, estates, leases and more.
Doctors are being replaced by robotic surgeries, at home diagnostic systems that can diagnose and call in basic prescriptions and even more advanced diagnosing software like IBM’s Watson has been proven to have a greater accuracy when diagnosing common ailments than a human.
Pharmacist, do we really need to pay someone 6 figures a year to count pills and tell you when to take your medicine, probably not. Computer systems have even been proven to catch more potential medicine interaction errors than humans due to their large databases and the ability to track a patient’s current medications.
Last week I saw an attachment for your smart phone that can give you an eye exam and call in a glasses prescription right on your phone, watch out optometrist.
The music industry has been suffering for years starting with song sharing sites like Napster, ya remember that one? Today most artists can record and mix tracks on a Macbook, upload to Spotify or iTunes and run social media campaigns effectively eliminating the music producers altogether.
Truck drivers and all associated industries will be in trouble in years to come with self-driving cars and trucks.
Ride-sharing services will eliminate the need for everyone to own their own car, therefore, jeopardizing a percentage of the automakers, car salespeople, insurance companies, mechanics and many more.
Any online task can be done in other parts of the world, I personally have hired dozens of very talented people with advanced degrees from other countries over the years to perform tasks that a domestic worker would demand $50-$80 an hour for, and in most cases I was able to get the same tasks done for $8-$15 an hour.
Real estate agents, mortgage brokers, brick and mortar retail, heck I even saw a video on YouTube about a brick laying machine…
I understand that not all human workers will be replaced in each industry since there are still specialized services only a human can do, however if you eliminate 80% of the workload there will be a lot of unemployed lawyers with advanced degrees working jobs that normally would have been done by a less skilled worker, which in turn displaces those workers and the cycle continues.
Higher education itself is in trouble. Why would someone, unless they are entering a specialized field need to spend tens of thousands of dollars, and sit in a classroom for 4 years just to learn from a professor who is already a dinosaur in the industry. In 4 years the courses you took on day one are already obsolete. With online distance learning, information is in the palm of our hands and can be accessed for little or no cost any time of the day. This also gives access to higher education to people around the world making 7.7 billion people our competition.
As of today, the minimum wage in the Philippines is about $8.00 a day!
It’s tough for our workers to compete with this low-cost workforce when many of the jobs of tomorrow will be done online.
This is also true of older people, within the next 20 years we will see dramatic changes in the way we work and get things done, you need to take a hard look at the job you are currently performing and ask yourself, can this be automated? Can this be outsourced? What will I do if that day comes?
I do not intend for this to be a gloom and doom article, I simply want to get people thinking about what lies ahead and give serious consideration as to what your future may look like. Be prepared and let’s get ahead of this.