There has been nonstop talk about the automation of jobs in many industries, from manufacturing to transportation to radiology, and the job loss that may result. In 2013, there was a popular study done around this idea by Carl Benedickt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, scholars from Oxford University. Their research found that 702 occupations and 47% of workers were at risk for unemployment due to automation. Some of the roles they found very likely to be computerized were receptionists, delivery drivers and accountants.
With these predictions, as well as technological advancements such as drones and chatbots over recent years, it’s understandable why many people are scared that automation will result in job loss. But before you let your anxiety of automation and unemployment overwhelm you, it’s important to note a few things.
We’ve Already Survived Major Changes Due to Automation
The world has survived changes in the job landscape because of technology before. One clear example of this is the Industrial Revolution that began in the late 1700s, when sewing machines were invented and the tasks involved in many textile jobs became automated. Another example is the invention and subsequent advancement of computers and the Internet throughout the 1900s. Both events may have destroyed some jobs, but they created many more jobs. And in both instances, automation didn’t result in instant job loss for anyone. These changes happen slowly, so your entire job isn’t likely to be completely automated right away. You will have time to learn more skills while at the same time still performing other parts of your job that require a human being.
Automation Doesn’t Care What Industry You Work in or Your Skill Level
Automation doesn’t seem to discriminate against workers in one industry or with a certain level of education and skill. It’s just nice to know that with any struggles you could possibly face due to automation, you will not be alone. Just as cashiers may eventually be subject to automation and unemployment, the same is possible for airplane pilots and those that have certain jobs in medical technology. The workers in these different jobs and industries can simply learn new skills and adapt to the changes over time. For cashiers, there will always be a need for humans in customer service, so these workers can easily move to another related job in the same company or industry. If automated planes came to be someday, pilots would be needed to help create and control them.
Instead of Job Loss, Automation Could Mean Job Gain
Instead of looking at automation as a sign of job loss, think about how it’s going to improve businesses and the economy. With robots able to perform more routine, mundane tasks, companies will have more of their workers available for complex tasks. This will increase production and improve products and services that the company produces. In turn, many businesses will probably be able to afford to hire more people and pay their workers more. So, the outcome for workers would be automation and more money, as opposed to automation and unemployment. Another bonus is that with robots relieving us from many tasks that take a lot of time and effort, it gives humans the opportunity to continue to develop new skills, deepen their minds and evolve.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.