Since the advent of the first industrial revolution mankind has seen machines slowly take over our industry and our jobs. Initially this assimilation was of manual jobs. New skills such as engineering emerged and the job market changed. We are currently undergoing a similar revolution with predictions by Forrester that 6% of all US jobs will have been taken over by robots by 2021.
We have come to accept the rise of artificial intelligence; machine take-over is no longer limited to manual jobs, those that require thinking are also coming under attack. As the job market bends to meet demand, we need to be prepared to retrain more quickly than ever before.
Some of the more unexpected industries to face obsolescence includes those that we would have not predicted two or three years ago, such as:
Believe it or not, with the advent of superior computer-driven diagnostic tools, this element of a doctor’s job will soon become obsolete. We will still need doctors to determine and carry out treatment but initial assessment will be done by machine.
In theory, it is possible for an infinite number of monkeys to write the complete works of Shakespeare. This hasn’t yet actually happened but we are already seeing intelligent writing programmes deliver sports results and other thematic news. The machine world’s aptitude for more creative writing is growing too, with software like Persado threatening to take over from content writers. The writers of the world need to watch out, the machines are learning by reading web copy, written by writers.
Our motorways are clogged with delivery lorries and it won’t be long before we see most of these driven by computers. The technology has already been developed and is currently at the testing phase. Possibly the biggest barrier to this computer revolution will be people’s fears about safety – who knows how long these will take to overcome?
This is only a small sample of possible computer takeovers of our jobs and industry. The question about whether we need to worry remains. It has been suggested that the coming unemployment explosion and consequent retraining needs are not being taken seriously enough by governments.