What Jobs Are in Danger of Being Obsolete?
In 2017, I read that a new machine was invented to make dumplings. This is a professional model that will help some restaurants beat the competition. It turns out making dumplings is something of a lost art.
Restaurant owners cannot find enough good workers to make dumplings. This got me thinking: What other jobs or professions will be obsolete due to automation and robotics?
Machines Could Replace Whole Workplace Sectors
Robotics and automation have been around for a long time. Many assembly lines are filled with these machines which are very good at making repetitive motions and never make a mistake. The new artificial intelligence software has added a new level of sophistication; machines can perform a complete function that used to be performed by a human being. This is a game-changer. This means some group's employment is in jeopardy.
If a machine can replace a whole workforce, what will the people do? Can they be re-trained for some other profession? These have economic implications as well as social and psychological impacts.
We probably all seen the movie Robocop, where a future city decided to replace their police force with a robot. These machines are supposed to be better and programmed to uphold the law while protecting the innocent and arrest the criminal elements.
What about the human element? There are many jobs that are not easily programmed. It depends on human interaction. The worker has to be able to interact with customers of all sorts and be able to adapt on the fly to various situations that may arise.
Another recent development is in retail stores where they are replacing checkout personnel with self-scanning kiosks. Since all the items are barcoded, it is just as easy for the customer to scan his own items and pay with credit cards all without a cashier.
It is obvious that there can be some savings when a job can be eliminated. There will be one less payroll, and benefits and employee issues to deal with. A machine will work around the clock and never complain or go on strike.
What Jobs Are Candidates for Replacement?
- Cashiers at retail stores: replaced by a self-scanning kiosk
- Toll collectors: replaced by EZ-Pass
- Sweepers: replaced by iRobot vacuums
- Bank tellers: replaced by ATM machines
- Delivery people: replaced by drones
- Garbage collector: replaced by trucks with automated lifts
- baker: replaced by bread-maker machine
Some Jobs at Risk
Recent advances in technology have put additional pressure on the human job market. Here are a few innovations that could be game-changers.
- self-driving trucks
- self-driving cars
- robotic doctors
- robotic pilots
Some Jobs Are Safe
Fortunately for us humans, there are still plenty of jobs that only humans can perform. These involve creativity and artistic input such as writer, cartoonist, painter, musician, artist, photographer, programmer, or chef.
What do these professions have in common? They require creativity that cannot be easily programmed. They also interact with people and respond to requests.
Oddly enough, customer service is another area where a human is better. People still like to interact with other people. When you call up to file a complaint or resolve an issue, you want to talk to a person who may have some sympathy for your troubles.
In sports, a personal trainer or coach is also very hard to replace. He or she has a personal relationship with the client. Even if a robot could perform all the functions, the person may still prefer another person to talk or share.
Artificial Intelligence is here. We are warned that it will take over the world, including our jobs. I am a skeptic. These projections are ususally too optimistic. The humans have one advantage. They can adapt to any and all situations. Also, more importantly, people needs people.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2017 Jack Lee