Employment opportunities for the masses are essential for a healthy economy.
While economic growth has been driven by rapid growth in technology, economic health is endangered. Technological advancement has brought about situations where workers are being replaced by mechanized processes and robots. Increasing amounts of workers are losing their jobs or receiving reduced wages; resulting in their inability to take part in the economy as consumers. A snowball effect is caused when consumers are financially unable to support retailers; the retailers purchase less from wholesalers who in turn cut their orders with manufacturers.
Jobs that were lost during the recession will not be recovered
The universe may be recovering from a dreadful financial slump, but technology has not slackened. Workers’ jobs that were lost during the recession will not be recovered; as an alternative, those jobs will be replaced by automated systems.
Is your job in jeopardy?
It is predicted that robots will be taking over most labor intensive, repetitive jobs rapidly. Restricted developments have been made by furnishing robots with very basic social intellect, perception of language and dialects, as well as rudimentary logic and reasoning skills. While robots will have no problems taking over repetitive jobs, no danger exists currently for jobs where the creativity of thoughts and actions are required. The most progress made in the automation of jobs has been in the service sector, Including agriculture and industry. This also happens to be a sector where over 70% of laborers were employed. Phasing out these jobs in favor of mechanized robots will have devastating effects on the economy, as thousands of workers will find themselves unemployed, which will drastically decrease purchasing power. Many more will become dependent on government support.
Certain professional jobs have already been automated
It is expected that teachers will be replaced by robots in the near future. Robots, instead of doctors, are already being used to diagnose patients. Predictions are that nanobots will be replacing damaged cells while rushing through human veins, by 2030. This will eliminate much of the need for medical supervision. Another medical position in danger is that of the radiologists. Being of a very repetitive nature, robots may soon be taking over radiology, as well.
What about other professions?
Software has been developed that can read, review and accurately analyze millions of legal documents in a matter of seconds. Could the jobs of lawyers and paralegals be in jeopardy?
Where do we go from here?
Planning future employment opportunities have to be approached in a proactive way. With the knowledge of the threat of robots, we should identify factors that may present problems in the future. Once those problems have been identified, the focus should be on skills development to overcome those potential problems.
What does the future hold for our children?
Consider that the children who are in primary school now will be entering the career market in 15 to 20 years from now. We would obviously want our children to be employable, not so? While we have established that skills, where the creativity of the human mind is essential, are not likely to be taken over by robots, we should emphasize the development of those types of skills in children from an early age. With a maximized skill set and versatility, today’s kids may be employable in 15 to 20 years from now.
When formatting future economic and growth plans, leaders in every country should remain aware of the predictions that half of all human jobs are expected to be mechanized by 2040, and plan with that in mind.
Mari Serfontein – On the Wings of Life