What does the future hold?
We can already see examples of machines replacing physical aspects of a people’s jobs, such as machines assembling a car on a factory production line.
Rapid improvements in computing power and advances in Artificial Intelligence mean smarter machines are already replacing a broader range of human activities than ever before.
If robots are able to reason more efficiently than a human then a new wave of jobs could be replaced. Some of these include telephone salespeople and taxi drivers.
But certain jobs which have a greater need for people and social skills such as empathy are unlikely to be replaced. If you’re a nurse, teacher, social worker or therapist it’s unlikely a machine could replace the skills needed for your work.
However, when people estimate which jobs are most at risk of automation, they often overlook some important factors.
For example, it might be possible to automate pouring drinks in a bar but that doesn’t mean it will be cheaper than hiring bar staff. This shows that companies have other things to consider, such as cost, before implementing new technologies.
As we’ve seen in the past, technology might change the nature of jobs but it doesn’t necessarily remove the need for them completely. Think about the role of a secretary – fifty years ago this job was completely different than it is today, but the job still exists. However if change happens this way, the need to develop your skills remains essential.