Can robots take over our jobs?
The fear of unemployment has been around the corner since many years ago. With the super-fast advancement of technology, AI, and robotics, it seems that chances are increasingly high that we will soon encounter mass unemployment in the near future.
A couple of weeks ago, a strange article was published in The Guardian. It was written completely by GPT-3: a cutting-edge, language generator robot that uses machine learning to write just like humans. The robot was asked to write an article about the fact that robots are not going to be a threat to humans, and it just did. Fascinating, yet frightening!
When there are such robots, what will happen for writers in the upcoming years, one may ask?
This is an inevitable fact that the onslaught of robots is definitely going to vanish countless jobs soon. That being said, is it something we should really be aware of?
According to research, job-related charts have had an upward slope for both “employment” and “productivity” since World War II. The slope for employment and productivity growth has remained almost constant since then, until 2000. Afterward, only productivity has been rising further due to the advancement of technology, while the employment rate has not been able to keep up with unprecedented technological growth.
Over the past two decades, many Americans have lost their jobs due to automation. In fact, over 2 percent of Americans (roughly 7 million persons) lost their job between 2004 and 2009. They mostly had no college degrees.
This is paradoxical. Productivity and innovation have never been higher and faster, yet at the same time our income is falling and jobs are fewer today. The truth is that the speed of advancement in robotics and automation is so fast that our talent and skills cannot keep up to that.
On the other hand, no one can guarantee that everyone will benefit from this robotic growth equally. Although the society in general along with innovators are benefiting highly from this growth, many jobs are stopping gradually.
The list below shows the jobs that are most probable to be replaced by AI and robots soon:
- Bookkeeping Clerks
- Compensation and Benefits Managers
- Computer Support Specialists
- Market Research Analysts
- Advertising Salespeople
- Retail Salespeople
Then, what will be the future of employment?
Although we are not yet advanced enough to have robot courts, and no robot that can take us thousands of kilometers away in a few minutes, the future of the robotic realm seems horribly perplexing.
Despite all the public fear of robot-inducing unemployment, current statistics picture something totally different. This is 2020, and neglecting the coronavirus era, the unemployment rate is below 5 percent in the U.S.
Although automation is disrupting myriad jobs, it seems that we cannot currently see many jobless people as we have been fearing for decades. Perhaps this is just a transitory period. Experts believe that we will pass this period safely.
In the next decades, it’s going to be more and more commonplace to see various professions either cease to exist or transform into other jobs. Despite all the fears regarding this, a 2018 report shows that while we may displace 75 million jobs in the world by 2022, we will create 133 million new ones simultaneously. In other words, although the robotic era will destroy millions of jobs, it will significantly intensify productivity and create numerous jobs in the future.
How to prepare for robot-induced unemployment
In spite of the fact that productivity will further increase and many new jobs will be created related to robots, you have to be prepared for losing your job. Many current jobs we have today were unthinkable to those living in 10 to 20 years ago. Instagram influencers are just one example. Also, many jobs that existed several years ago do not exist now.
The key approach to preparing for the issue is this:
- Be innovative
- Think about the future
- Predict what will happen for your profession
- Take proper action
Although not all of us are going to be programmers and engineers, we can at least imagine the future and the comfort robots will provide, in order to be innovative and have a plan in advance. A truck driver, as an example, is almost certainly going to lose his job; however, he can be innovative to prepare for the issue and deviate his expertise not very far from his current profession, but toward what he thinks is the future for trucks in general. Perhaps future workers will not find a job, but they should be able to create one.