The Future Is Automated: How Will This Affect Your Job?
The future is automated. Or so they say — not a day goes by these days without running across more articles predicting the end of low-skill jobs. Jobs indeed CAN be displaced, so what does this mean for your job?
The End of Jobs?
If there is anything we can be sure about, it is that change in business happens whether we like it to or not. One can prepare for business cycles by “skating to where the puck is”. Many famous and highly successful entrepreneurs have done that including Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Steve Jobs of Apple and Bill Gates of Microsoft.
Betting on the future is hard if not impossible, but many have tried with limited consistent accuracy. So while the details of the future are still yet to be determined, those that are smartest either craft the future by taking massive risks or be cognizant enough of the trend to know where place reasonable bets.
When Google transformed into Alphabet, they separated out what would be Google the search and ads company with what they call the Other Bets which consists of long-term projects that don’t have any returns on investments in the short term.
One of the these Other Bets is the widely known project for Automated Cars. While the technology is still in it’s infancy and the widespread implementation at least a few years away, the ability to automate cars is a sign of things to come.
Cars and Beyond
If there can be an algorithm that can do something as complex as driving, how many other jobs can be programmed?
I’m actually ones of those people that don’t think full automation is ever a good outcome. As a Human Factors Engineer, part of my job is to design work environments that are suitable to a person’s strengths and capabilities. But while, there are some things that will never be able to be done by a machine, there are also many on the list that would be possible in the near future.
It seems like there are additional things. Automation seems to include all sorts of new areas with the ability to use cameras, and sensors to do things that traditional computing couldn’t do. This extension gives it the eyes, ears and voice necessary to carry out more complex operations.
Driving in the Fast Lane
Take the Amazon Go. Amazon is able to design a store without the need for a check-out line.
Cameras can see what you put in your bag, see what you take out and you just pay automatically when you leave the store. You don’t need to scan anymore, you don’t need wait in line.
Years ago, groceries stores already cut people out of the equation by adopting self-checkout lines. Now they have cut out the need to have you do the work too. This is an example of a low-complexity job that can be phased out as Internet-of-Things (IoT) becomes more sophisticated.
How about you?
What kind of job do you have that you think would be immune to the wave of automation? If we do live in a post-work kind of world, what would you do if you had more time, more freedom and also continue to add value and create value for your customers? Comment below, would love to hear from ya.