The Changing World of Jobs by Tyler
Recent headlines speak of a near future where many of the jobs of today will be done by robots of one kind or another. According to a highly cited study done by Oxford University in 2013, half of employment in the US is at risk of being automated. Automation already is responsible for 88 percent of the losses in manufacturing jobs for the ten years between 2000 and 2010.
But it is not just so-called “blue collar” jobs that are being taken over by machines. Artificial intelligence is now doing to white collar jobs, what robotics has been doing to manufacturing.
Earlier this year, the Japanese insurance company Fukoku Mutual Life replaced 34 claim workers with an IBM based computer system that scans hospital records, patient medical histories, procedures done, and other documents to determine insurance payouts. The company expects to save more than $1 million each year in salaries, and will see a return on its’ investment in the computerized system in just two years of operation.
Last December, the world’s largest hedge fund managing company stated it was developing software that will automate middle management, including hiring and firing. News media giants Associated Press and Forbes already utilizes robots to write stories. Robot lawyers already write responses to the courts for clients. Social robot therapists already help teach special needs children. Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs are now used by teachers in colleges, and in Japan, actual physical robots teach English to students.
Even actors are not safe from automation. Long dead actors including Bruce Lee and Marlon Brando have been brought back to the screens with the use of computers.
Virtually every auto manufacturer is working on developing driverless vehicles. How many years will pass before delivery jobs will be a thing of the past? Driver-less cabs already are in operation in some parts of the world. Last August, Uber delivered its’ first driver-less cars to Pittsburg.
Two years ago, a 100 room hotel opened that is staffed by 140 robots. In LA, bellhops are being replaced by robots. In China, robots are replacing waiters in restaurants. In Phoenix, a new McDonalds’ restaurant is run entirely by robots.
But not all jobs are vulnerable to automation. Many of the trades, such as plumber, pipefitter, steamfitter, carpenter, electrician, roofer, contracting, masonry, nursing, and metal working present conditions difficult for robots to work in. These are stable, good paying careers.
In addition to the trades, many opportunities exist in the more inventive and creative occupations. In a world that places a high premium on entertainment, jobs as writers, playwrights, choreographers, dancers, singers, videographers and all the supporting careers remain. Innovation and invention remain as machines take over the repetitive work of manufacturing and service.
In this changing world, we have an obligation to help our children prepare for a successful future. A very large percentage of our children will not attend college, and many who do face a job market that does not match their skills.
Skills Centers, and trades training offer excellent options for many people. It is important to support young people who are not interested in whitecollar professions. Increasingly, across the world, communities are recognizing the value of providing opportunities for skills training. “Skills Training is a Pathway to Economic Growth for All” reads the headline from the United Nations Development Programme.
“The proper training can help job seekers to strategically align their best skills with the market demands.”