The rise of the robots – will your job be gone in coming years?
According to the University of Oxford, almost 50% of all jobs will be replaced by robots in years to come. Robots or AI will one day do your work potentially. What does this mean for you? Will you enjoy more leisure time or will you be left without a means to make money to survive?
Robots and AI are already radically changing the way we see work and employment. In the past eras of technological revolution, entire labour forces were able to adapt and move into new fields of industry, but that doesn’t mean the next technological revolution will be as smooth. Machine learning is on the rise. Augmented and virtual reality is entering our reality at a rapid pace. Now not only is the concept of work becoming redefined but even reality is not what it was. Soon we may not even be able to tell the difference between real and virtual realities as simulated life merges into our mainstream living like a subtle tidal swell in the zeitgeist of tomorrow. A sea change is upon us as a tidal shift occurs.
And it’s already here. In 2016 Amazon increased their transport robots from 30 000 to 45 000. Initially it was seen as a possible cause for loss of jobs but on the contrary, more than 100 000 new jobs were subsequently added over the following 18 months. So as old jobs are replaced, it seems as if new ones will emerge.
Similarly, the financial sector has had algorithmic traders buying and selling stocks and shares on Wall St and the like for years already. They are faster and better than humans at trading by far, since trading is all about math and probability, which is programmable. In cryptocurrency, for example, where there is trading 24/7, robot trading software can trade all day and night without the need for sleep like regular human traders. This is naturally a huge benefit in a constantly changing market. How often have we been observing the market for a good trade only to see it slip us by because we had to take rest on our side of the planet while the other side traded in full daylight?
Robot analysts are in fact taking out not the lower labour force jobs but also the top skilled analysts and financial advisors who usually make around $350 000 to $500 000 a year. Imagine saving that much on salaries in your company. Even jobs like journalism are being taken over by robot writers. What might have taken writers hundreds of hours to compile can now be done by a template robot in a fraction of the time.
And these AI workers are popping up in some unexpected places as the years unfold. No job is safe anymore.
“It's quite simple: if your job can be easily explained it can be automated, if it can't it wont.” Anders Sandberg from Oxford
The future of work is going to look quite different. This may affect countries differently depending on their fundamentals I would presume. For example a third world country with already high unemployment may be slower to initiate AI but if it does it’s possible unemployment will rise, particularly among unskilled labour. As a result we may need to rethink our definition of work or create new types of work. At times like these a Universal Basic Income (UBI) will be appealing to some countries.
The good news is that in all probability the jobs of the future have not even been thought of yet. Technology moves so fast that even a few years ago there was no such thing as a SEO specialist to improve your online reach, or even a website designer to build your ad page for you. All the IT and tech jobs are constantly evolving. And in the future many more of us may have the time to do art and contemplate the philosophical meaning of life while robots do the much-needed jobs to keep the world turning.
The potential for a dystopian future, where humans are no longer needed by the elite and slowly done away with by sterilization or decreased breeding, does begin to look like a possibility, particularly with the Georgia Guide Stones telling us that the world should ideally be half a billion citizens. Will the elite cull us in the future to fit their small population agenda? Or will we come up with new ways to employ the millions of uneducated masses? Or will we simply give everyone free money to live on, like the unemployment benefits that used to be made available in some countries in the past? Socialism, where the state feeds and clothes the masses, is somewhat frowned upon by many due to its dubious misuse in the past, but isn’t the UBI just more of the same?
Surely the masses will not be content to just sit around unproductive for all their lives? Perhaps playing computer games all day will be a pleasant pastime by then, as it is for kids today already, particularly when augmentation arrives. Hopefully by then they will have in-game credits where they can earn an income or trade credits which can be used in real world cases, like for food and health. What is your forecast for the future on planet earth for the masses of unemployable humanity as the robots take over the jobs? Let us know in the comments below.