Since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve seen a near-constant stream of technological innovations and inventions reshape our job markets over and over again. Once dependable and traditional occupations go extinct. New and lucrative careers are born for those who can adapt.
This trend seems to have gone into overdrive in the past few decades, with automation and the internet completely reshaping a number of industries. Millions of jobs have either vanished or significantly changed in nature, while many others have been created.
Looking toward the future, the next big innovation in technology which may significantly alter the job market is Artificial Intelligence. Breakthroughs in AI are going to have massive implications for the labor force and job markets, furthering a long line of technological advancements to do so.
Technology and the Job Market of Today
We’re currently in the process of adjusting to a new, automated world, one that is far from finished developing. But even now, we’ve seen the impact of automation in the workforce.
The factory sector has embraced automation wholeheartedly, with the effect of obsoleting countless jobs. This has also been the case with agriculture, where automated processes have replaced human labor in many commercial farming concerns. In 1950, manufacturing and agriculture made up In 1950, manufacturing and agriculture made up around 40% of US jobs, and today make up around 10%. While some of that gulf can be attributed to globalization, expert analysis suggests that the lion’s share of job loss in those sectors is due to automation.
Other industries haven’t been nearly so hard hit as manufacturing and agriculture, though that’s possibly going to be changing in the near future.
Technology and the Job Market of Tomorrow
From a labor perspective, the concept of pairing automation with AI is a frightening one. A study suggests that as many as 800 million jobs worldwide could be threatened by automation by 2030. That kind of global disruption of the job market would be wholly unprecedented in history.
Look no further than the trucking and transportation industry. Currently, there are 3.5 million professional truckers in the United States. That’s around 2% of the entire US labor force.
Tesla, Apple, Alphabet (Google) and a number of auto manufacturers are racing toward the creation of the fully automated automobile. Some estimates suggest that there will be 20 million driverless cars on the road by 2020. Within 10 years time, what will the trucking industry look like, and how many truckers will still be employed as truckers?
This is a very visible and easy to imagine scenario. But similar concepts will be playing out in many other industries. Automation in retail and grocery shopping, as well as many other service industries, is expected in the near future. As AI gets smarter and robotics gets more sophisticated, new job markets will be threatened.
Jobs of the Future
There’s not even a guarantee that certain sectors of knowledge work, long seen as impervious to loss due to automation, will be unscathed by AI. The medical field is testing automated algorithms for diagnosis and treatment, as well as certain types of surgeries. Big Data is changing the way marketing works. The list goes on.
A field that appears to offer some protection against the upcoming waves of automation is computer science. If nothing else, so many automated systems are going to be implemented in the coming decades, it will be necessary for someone to do all that coding to program them.
It’s almost certain that a number of people are going to need to retrain for new professions in the middle of their professional careers. This means that the education system is going to need to expand beyond the bounds of traditional universities and colleges, shifting a focus more toward specialized training like Coding Bootcamp Phoenix and similar courses.
In any case, if you’re looking for occupations and professions that seem likely to be safe from being encroached on by automation, it’s probably wise to look at the jobs that support and augment the automation process itself. The future is going to look very different than today in many ways, but it’s beyond a doubt that technology is going to be leading the way in changing everything.