We have all basked in the sun of technological advancements. We all celebrate when there is some new technology introduced. From 5G, self-driving cars, and even a drone delivery system, these things promise to make our day-to-day easier and more convenient.
However, with each forward dash we make towards a more futuristic world, there are some adverse effects. Particularly, automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence continue to advance while threatening to take over some of our livelihoods. Eventually, machines become more capable of doing our jobs better than we can.
Nevertheless, this encroachment of technology over our source of income is not the first instance in history. When the steam engine was invented, plenty of jobs were lost since the machines replaced human labor. There was a need for a more skilled workforce to operate the new machines. Those who were not prepared were swept under the rug of unemployment by the more efficient machines.
Interrogating the Luddite Fallacy
It is often said that no one is looking forward to becoming a librarian. With technology, we can create infallible catalogs that are faster than the human librarian. However, some think that the same goes for all the other professions as well. The doomsday prophets claim that long-term technological unemployment is a matter of certainty. Their reasons are as follows.
• Machines are able to do most of the “easy” work.
• The term “easy” continues to apply to more kinds of tasks as technology continues to advance.
• The work that is not “easy” requires superior skill sets and cognitive acuities that humans will soon be unable to supply. Thus, the machines would eventually take over these tasks.
We are continuously redefining what the term “easy” means in terms of getting work done. The Luddite fallacy is used to comment on the absurdity of thinking that machines will soon leave everyone unemployed. In essence, there are benefits to making these technological leaps. In fact, about 33% of the jobs in the United States are new. This means that about 25 years ago, these occupations did not exist.
Perhaps we are far from a world where computers can craft excellent custom writings. In any case, transportation, manufacturing, and storage industries are currently under siege. We are quickly reaching a point where human labor may be rendered obsolete due to technology. Autonomous cars are estimated to eliminate about 300,000 driving jobs each year. This statistic is not expected to happen with immediate effect. The same study also states that by the year 2025, about 20% of the cars sold globally will be semi to fully autonomous. With the introduction of Uber Freight, the future of human truckers does not look promising.
Preparing for Technological Unemployment
Yes, machines are getting smarter and faster. Yet, there are some professions that will continue to remain the prerogative of humans. At least for the foreseeable future. Such occupations include the following.
Occupations Related to Social and Welfare Work
If you are passionate about helping the less fortunate in society, then your future goals may still be safe from technological takeover. Social work requires humanity to perform effectively. This could be working on getting orphaned kids to good homes. In other cases, it could mean working with people who are struggling to overcome some drug addiction. In these instances, you will be required to help people get through trying times. Hence, the human touch is essential.
Health and Medically Related Professions
When it comes to mental health and dealing with those afflicted, a human touch is truly effective. The same also goes for occupations such as nursing. Healthcare professionals must interact with their patients. Empathy is crucial when it comes to helping people recover. Physiotherapists also fall into this category. It is quite unlikely that machines would be able to perform these tasks even in the next 30 to 40 years.
The Teaching Profession: Elementary and Special Needs Education
The future looks bright for those who wish to impart knowledge to kids. Early childhood and special needs education might not be affected by automation. It is safe to assume that until we create a human-computer link, teaching would still be a viable occupation for generations to come.
There is still a myriad of professions that are still safe from technological encroachment. Just as it happened during the first revolution, some work will be lost. Yet, in their place, there will emerge more fulfilling work. Economic and societal standards are bound to improve.