Authors such as Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells and E.M. Forster have often invoked wonder, fear, curiosity and fascination towards the possibilities of the future, with everything ranging from aliens, technology and machines to how humans could interact with each. One area of the world that has only progressed in seamlessness of interaction with humanity is the construction of robots, and how they are phased into the diverse spheres of society. Thousands of people across the world look for a new job every day, but that process may be soon be disrupted, because the likelihood of robots replacing more jobs across the globe in the upcoming decades seems to have already begun.
A recent University of Oxford study reveals that jobs involving a high amount of repetitive, task-like work, such as bookkeeping, retail assisting and data entry will be the soonest to start falling into the hands of automated workers. Jobs like this are typically the easiest to assign to computers and software through a high-intelligence robot, as most of the work involves numbers or objective data that can be easily programmed for completion by means of coding.
Among more of the jobs that are likely to be replaced by robots in upcoming decades are telephone and switchboard operators, payroll managers, checkout clerks and lower-level sales jobs. Grocery stores, auto parts shops, certain restaurants, school events and many offices will probably begin seeing these changes manifest themselves as soon as 2030. With 2015 being only one year away, many people would be very astute to start researching more about the shifting sands of the job market, and how starting a small business might have greater appeal than ever before.
A natural question to be raised is in respect to how creative fields will be affected by the oncoming integration of computerized co-workers, if at all. While robots greatly help expedite and streamline the collection and processing of information, humans will still be involved in the final decisions of businesses, guiding where a department or company should go, and making the best choices for the options that other humans will have. While robots could help capitalize on the creative potential of a project, the capacity for raw emotion that each human holds is an invaluable and indispensable characteristic that will forever be ingrained with how humans carry the world forward.
These types of approaching job changes also help one to wonder about whether or not there will be a limit to how far such technological advances will, or should, proceed. Hurtling Toward Oblivion, by Richard A Swenson, and The Second Machine Age, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee are two books that cover the topic extensively. The premise that humans may one day be overtaken by our rabid desire to produce technology is entirely a sobering thought. The ideas and reasons for which we plan to build a new aspect of technology must always be taken into account before fully embarking on a quest. Technology adds value to a lot of lives, but success in the name of progress should not always come before success in the name of emotional and mental clarity.
Some of the jobs least likely to be affected or displaced by robotic inductions are pastoral positions, veterinarians, supervisors and managers, and occupational therapists. Some of these jobs may not necessarily include the most creative of duties, but are nonetheless jobs that require a higher level of emotional cognition and workforce governance.
Interestingly enough, a considerable percentage of the aforementioned careers can be obtained through launching a small business as well, or forming a co-op that could lead to broader business potential. Since higher-capacity robots in the upcoming decades are likely to replace more jobs, the commencement of higher self-employment may follow suit. It all depends on how creative one can get.
Opinion By Brad Johnson