When we think of robots, we often think of famous ones from the movies, including C-3PO and R2-D2 from “Star Wars,” Johnny 5 from “Short Circuit,” and Wall-E from “Wall-E.” Those were fun robots with personalities that entertained us. But the robotic revolution is introducing us to the real deal, modern robots that require us to adjust to “the future.” These robots will play a role in everyday life and accepting some of them may be uncomfortable at first (especially if they take our job away!), but the robotic revolution is sure to simplify and make our lives easier, safer, and more efficient. But no need to worry about robots taking over the world! New technology means that more and more new jobs will continue to be created, jobs that only humans can perform! Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto, domo…domo.
Robotic Revolution: Technology’s Role in Redundancy
The ATM was just the start; automation is eating up more and more of the jobs we take for granted. Five million jobs in the world’s leading economies could disappear over the next five years because of advances in technology—the fourth industrial revolution. So which careers will technology feast on in the future? And what does the future look like?
Accounting, finance, data analysis
These jobs are threatened by new technology that converts receipts into machine-readable formats, encrypts them, and then allocates them to accounts. The platform gradually also self-learns, tracks invoices, counts sales and costs, and records liquidity.
The industry has an incentive to automate: There are currently 5.7 million truck drivers in the USA. The Trucking industry is 30,000 truckers short—(figure to grow to) 250,000 by 2022. Caterpillar plans to debut a fleet of Self-driving, 240-ton mining trucks in coming years. The “driver” of the future might be a technician sitting at a desk somewhere, guiding several trucks at once (as with fighter pilots being replaced by remote-control drones).
Sales and service
Kiosks and self-service tech are the arch enemy of cashiers, sales representatives in manufacturing, retail salespeople, and real estate brokers.
The U.S. Postal Service
One of the hardest-hit industries, USPS will experience a loss of more than 54,500 jobs between 2008 and 2018. 30% of current positions (179,000) are expected to vanish by 2018.
Increased computer-processing capacity and the widespread availability of more elaborate desktop publishing software make it easier and more affordable for non-printing professionals to use. The future of desktop publishing looks bleak. There will be a decline of 23% jobs by 2008. Current employment: 26,400.
Robotic road ahead
According to The Economic Report of the President (2016), there’s an 83% chance that workers who earn $20 an hour or less could be replaced by robots. Those in the $40 an hour pay range face a 31% chance of having their jobs taken over by machines.
Momentum Machines’ multi-tasker bot makes (and flips) a gourmet hamburger in 10 seconds and could feasibly replace an entire McDonald’s crew. Universal Robots’ manufacturing robot solders, paints, screws, glues, grasps, and builds new parts for itself on the fly when they break. Google won a patent to build worker robots with personalities. And Oxford University researchers estimate that 47% of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades.
The safe zone
There is only so much automation and machines can currently do. Which jobs seem safe from rampant technology? Here are a few doctors and nurses, home health aides, massage therapists, athletes, and creative occupations involving art, design and entertainment.
What does the future look like?
Look on the bright side! Types of jobs have been coming and going for centuries. For example, textile workers in England were replaced by mechanized looms in the 19th century. New jobs are created all the time. Ten years ago, we had not heard of app developers, market research data miners, educational or admissions consultants, millennial generational experts, social media managers, chief listening officers, cloud computing services, elder care service providers, sustainability experts, and user experience designers. Around 65% of children starting primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist. New technology means the world’s their oyster. It’s an exciting digital age to be alive.
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