Some jobs are becoming obsolete due technological developments. This is not necessarily bad. The automation and substitution of human labor by machines and computers will make possible for workers to focus on other higher-performance activities and consequently be more productive for companies.
According to MGI research on the automation potential of the global economy, a study conducted by McKinsey global institute, even if whole jobs are not automated, partial automation (where only some activities that make up a job are automated) will impact almost all jobs to a greater or lesser degree. Consequently, Innovation and progress will be more and more encouraged by companies, since their employees will have more time to explore their skills.
Automation or the technological progress as a whole will not only bring benefits to labor but also to personal life quality. As consumers, we will increasingly fill our needs faster and most effectively giving us space to spend more time and money on discretionary goods and services.
Thus, many activities that workers carry out today will probably be automated. The jobs most susceptible to automation are the ones that are highly predictable and structured. Moreover, the most affected sectors will be manufacture, hospitality, retail and food, since its where this type of jobs are more common. Furthermore, due to the developments on artificial intelligence, computer systems are increasingly gaining cognitive capabilities so they will eventually also be able to substitute high-skilled work activities.
The same study above mentioned, points that very few occupations—less than 5 percent—are candidates for full automation today, meaning that every activity constituting these occupations are automated. Nonetheless, as already mentioned, almost every occupation has partial automation potential. Also, new labor activities where experts will be needed to design, operate, and manage intelligent systems, will emerge.
Thus, we can speculate that in the next 20 years some activities will drastically change and might disappear, such as:
We are not sure how much time this will take, maybe 5 or maybe 30 years, but definitely taxi driver’s job will disappear. That’s due to developments in automated vehicles. Right now, this vehicles already exist and are being carefully and extensively tested. Ride-share companies such as Uber are already actively investing in automated strategies for their companies, in order to assure their future in the business.
Travel agents will no longer be needed. This is due to power and growing importance of traveling websites. They are powerful traveling tools that within a few seconds answer to all your doubts and find you the cheapest options to fit all your needs. Why would you need a person in the middle if internet answers all your questions? According to the Atlantic, the number of full-time travel agents in the U.S. dropped from a high of 124,000 in 2000 to around 74,000 in 2014.
According to the mirror, the new 'farmbots' are thought to be cheaper than hiring manpower, as labor costs in agriculture have soared.
Back in the day, you needed physically measure your plot of land, needed human labor to weed it out and another set of people to harvest and transport the end product to where is needed. More and more, drones or satellite imagery, specialized hardware and trucks will substitute all of that human labor.
Publishers and print related jobs
Although printed books remain the most popular means of reading, over the past decade the use of e-books has grown so fast that pretty soon they will overcome the use of books. Ecologically speaking, most people and companies are now concerned about the quantity of paper produced and are setting policies in order to reduce it. Publishing industry is going down now. But books won’t disappear entirely. Eventually, books will become vintage and trendy and they always have a collection value.
Paper printers and services should hurry up updating their systems and adapting to the 3d printing scene or their business is condemned to end soon.
Self-check-outs are the new black and cashiers will disappear maybe sooner than we think. Furthermore, online stores are stealing the place of physical stores that will become obsolete and rare. They will instead be transformed in showrooms of products where cashiers will be no longer needed.
Fast- food workers
From cashiers to cookers, the probability is that fast food companies will become “faster” than ever. Fast-food workers are paid low salaries. But with minimum wages being raised by governments, fast-food chains will easily prefer to buy machines rather than pay higher salaries. A lot of fast food cashiers were already substituted by self-service Kiosks. Also, in a good number of restaurants, robots are already flipping burgers.
According to the guardian there is a 99% chance that telemarketing will disappear in the next 15 years. Instead, telemarketing will (and already is) be completely transformed into other forms of marketing less direct and invasive. For instance augmented reality is emerging and will transform marketing and advertisement as we know it, in order to reach the highest engagement levels with customers ever.
Artificial intelligence platforms are affecting how legal work gets done. “These platforms will mine documents for evidence that will be useful in litigation, to review and create contracts, raise red flags within companies to identify potential fraud and other misconduct or do legal research and perform due diligence before corporate acquisitions”, states the article “Lawyers could be the next profession to be replaced by computers”
All this functions are now done by attorneys, so we can guess what most probably will happen to them.
But fear not- if on one hand some jobs will disappear, on the other hand, technology and other societal factors will create more jobs than the ones that might be destroyed by it. If you are curious of what might be the most in-demand jobs for the next decade, you should read our article regarding it.
By: Joana Correia