The future has moved from the “beautiful distant” to the foreseeable tomorrow. Robots and software have gone so far forward that we will see changes in the next five years. The main thing is not to learn about a breakthrough in science from the document about your layoff on redundancy. This means that you need to be ready for these changes, not making a mistake with your choice of profession.
In the USA, enterprises are massively buying up robots that work instead of people
In the first nine months of 2021, US companies bought 29 thousand “working” robots, spending $1.48 billion on this. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of workers.
According to CNN, American companies’ current purchase of robots is the largest in the country’s history. The previous record was set in 2017.
Why American companies are massively buying robots
There are two reasons why US companies began to buy “working” robots:
- high growth in demand for goods and products;
- difficulties in finding specialists.
The latter influenced the robotization of enterprises perhaps the most. After all, many companies, amid the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, have not been able to attract new or return old employees.
Who buys robots the most?
The increase in purchases of robots is observed in almost all sectors of the American economy. However, most often, they are acquired by:
- car companies;
- metallurgical companies;
- food manufacturers.
Robots will take up to 60% of jobs in the world
The world will increasingly be robotized, according to a study published on the website of the World Economic Forum. They note that the share of work performed by robots will grow from 29% to 42 in the next four years.
Analysts have found that technology will create 133 million new jobs – as opposed to 75 million, which will be occupied by robots. Most of them are engineers and developers. Most often, robots will be used in sales and support services.
At the same time, in the future, machines will also be able to take places that were previously considered exclusively “human.” For example, robots will be able to perform tasks related to decision-making in the field of project management and coordination.
Let’s get to know what the Knife suggests about the future which already came.
Are you serious? Do robots rush right now?
This is serious talk. The futurists, authors of the 2013 Oxford study believe that in the next 20 years in the United States, artificial intelligence will close up to 47% of vacancies. Robots will also become a part of everyday life: they will meet on the streets and catch people’s eyes in their apartments. According to a study by Cisco, this will happen in the 2020s because, since 2017, the number of domestic robots in cities is doubling every nine months.
Logically, robots will first replace the janitors and lower-level office staff, and I am already on average; I am not in any danger?..
You are. Replacing people with artificial intelligence starts from the position of the average skill level. Typically, the activities of these employees contain many template components that are easy to automate, and at the same time, require relatively high staff costs – enough for a business owner to look at the payroll and replace the entire middle tier with hardware. It is unprofitable to invite an expensive robot to the lower positions and offer it to sweep in the yard from time to time.
What professions are still at risk?
Still, for example, skilled workers in industrial enterprises will be left without work. Robotic complexes of a new generation are being introduced there, which can learn on the fly and do not disdain routine tasks. Factories that are 90% or more automated are already emerging in the world.
Up to 98% of taxi drivers will be replaced by unmanned programs. And other drivers, including truckers, may be laid off. Cars without a driver are already successfully driving around the planet; however, in a test mode – everything depends on the legislation. In 2017, Elon Musk presented a completely electric Tesla truck; a monster car can travel 500 miles without recharging. At the same time, it is equipped with lane-keeping and automatic braking functions. It is not yet clear who will be fined in case of speeding. However, the traffic police will also be replaced by smart tracking systems for road safety.
Also, judging by the results of the Oxford study, 98% of sellers will say goodbye to their work, which can already be seen in some McDonald’s, where the order is accepted not by a person, but by a touch screen. The positions of junior staff in laboratories will disappear, more than half of the dental technicians will disappear, artificial intelligence will take away jobs even from 11% of journalists. Farmers, postmen, seamstresses, handymen, carpenters, bartenders, cleaners, secretaries can enter the Red Book.
It sounds scary, but are there areas and professions still promising?
It makes sense not to look towards manufacturing and office professions but to focus on those areas where personal contact is required. For example, it is pretty difficult to replace teachers and psychologists. Time-consuming pursuits such as health care and social care are here to stay; caring for the elderly is more critical than ever in a prosperous future. Tourism, property management, and the arts are pretty safe choices. This is due to rest, and what else can a person do when robots begin to work everywhere, tirelessly of gears. However, to express yourself artistically, the farsighted thing is to do design in the world of visual information. Contemporary art is always eager to manifest itself in graphics, multimedia, and environmental design.
Will the image of the usual professions change?
In some, it is radical. For example, it is no longer enough just to write well to be a journalist or writer. The Associated Press’s Wordsmith robot journalist produces more than 1 billion articles a year. Japanese scientists, using AI, wrote a novel that entered the competition’s final of a literary award. However, experts say that it is a lively and slightly nervous correspondent who can inspire confidence in the audience. In any case, robots are not yet posting stories on YouTube about how they burst into tears, disillusioned with football.
A significant transformation will take place in medicine. Instead of putting a spoon into the client’s mouth, the district pediatrician will just look at the client’s diagnostic biosensors and immediately recommend a particular genetically engineered drug based on the wishes of your DNA.
There is also an easier way to learn about current trends in science: take a look at the list of directions compiled by leading experts in the field of education for the student Olympiad “I am a professional.”
Will new engineering professions emerge?
Yes, certainly. Today you can safely devote yourself to robotics and everything related to new technologies.
The IT industry is developing with giant steps. There will soon be a need for smart environment techniques. Convergent and nanotechnology will come to the industry. Even if technical systems made of microrobots work with might and main, engineers who understand such things will be worth their weight in gold. Urbanists will also be needed; and also environmentalists, eco-analysts in the extractive industries, specialists in renewable energy and waste disposal. Researchers predict a new space era for us and the construction of new generation orbital stations.
Does this mean that other requirements will be imposed on workers?
Yes, of course. A report presented at the World Economic Forum in 2016 predicts that the skills that will be decisive in hiring tomorrow do not play a significant role in employment today. First of all, our social skills will be necessary: emotional intelligence, the ability to be inspired and inspire, convince and educate others, the ability to work in a team without irritating others. At the same time, since everything around will be technologized, knowledge of the basics of programming and algorithmization and will be needed everywhere in general. In the future, proclaiming “I am a programmer” is like declaring today, “I can count to a hundred!”
Among the professions, the demand for mobile and web developers, cybersecurity specialists, and Big Data analysts have now appeared and will continue to grow for a long time.
And if I am a humanitarian?
In Japan, you would not be congratulated on this. In 2015, more than two dozen Japanese universities announced the reduction or complete closure of the humanities and social sciences.
Knowledge of a foreign language will finally cease to be an advantage in employment: electronic systems in recent years have significantly advanced in voice recognition and translation accuracy. In 2017, Google announced the release of wireless headphones with built-in software that can translate 40 foreign languages by ear.
However, there is no reason to say goodbye to the philological faculty. At a minimum, the position of a digital linguist will be widespread: it will be necessary to develop new systems of semantic translation and, in general, to manage the communication between humanity and machines in natural languages.
Also, the future prepares a lot of vacancies for the humanities in the field of entertainment and media. Research from 2016 shows that the greater the value of leisure, the less time a person strives to work. With the development of computer games and social networks, the employment rate is falling. This means that people are ready to read articles and watch weird videos on the Internet even more often.
In addition, we will soon face a lot of ethical problems associated with genetic engineering and with questions like “Is it good to put a nanny robot at a separate table for servants?” They will require philosophical understanding and knowledge of sociology from the humanities.
How will the work routine and my relationship with the boss change?
Most likely, the boss will see you much less often: the trend of reducing the number of working hours is becoming more and more popular. People will devote themselves entirely to a hobby in some places, receiving unconditional income from the state. A similar experiment was launched in Finland, where 2,000 people just started to receive 560 euros a month.
As a result of the widespread use of freelancing and outsourcing, you won’t have to sit at work from ten to six. Employers are trying to find people for a specific task and not keep the staff on alert in the next office.
The better the technology is, the fewer hours a person spends on solving work tasks. Futurists consider the 15-hour workweek to be the reality of the future.
What should I do to stay in demand as a specialist?
The only sure way to be in demand in the 21st century is to study and study again. The ability to quickly master new skills, retrain without worrying that “redo everything again” will be one of your strengths. The very word “profession” will slowly go out of use, leaving room for a “set of competencies.” Their list for every working person will grow, according to the modern concept of life-long learning – lifelong learning. Your educational trajectory will be decorated with especially significant milestones such as participation in scientific competitions or prestigious Olympiads.
What exactly do I need to do now?
To better navigate the flow of offers and not miss the mark when mastering a doomed specialty, you will need to study university rankings, competitions for new specialties, and the labor market. The easiest way would be to use expert cases, which are drawn up by specialists from large companies and reputable universities from time to time. For example, such recommendations are sometimes collected by experts in the humanities, technical, and natural sciences for students participating in the Olympiads. By the way, a victory in such an event promises the highest score in the profile when entering a master’s or graduate school and getting into the base of young professionals (where recruiters of reputable companies drop in), or even an internship in a dream company.
And now, let’s dream. Let’s say you are a musician. Do you want to play a more expensive guitar? Work hard, develop your skills and life attitude, write music that will reach the target audience, and you will buy an expensive instrument. But at the same time, a basic income will provide you with existence at the level that you think only about your music and not about survival. This is the basic idea.
This is a prospect worth fighting for.
Excited? Read more at our author’s column!