Planning your professional life for the next 20 years? Are you worried that a whole range of jobs, including yours, will disappear from the labour landscape in a few years? If so, you should read this.
A significant shift in the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms for the tasks of today are expected in the upcoming years.
Citizen robots, drummer robots, robots swimming like an octopus and walking like an insect, robot athletes, space miner robots, ping-pong player robots, partying robots, learning, thinking, intelligent machines… There is an endless list of unbelievable and unimaginable inventions the fourth industrial revolution is about to bring to our lives. What do we know about the future awaiting us, and whom to believe more - the predictors of a ‘hellish dystopian’ future of mankind as robots take over our jobs and leave millions of people unemployed and in total despair, or those optimists believing that this is just another transition humans are going through in the course of history?!
Figures in the report ‘Jobs lost, jobs gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation' made by the McKinsey Global Institute shows that by 2022 there will be a significant drop-down of full-time employees in big companies. If today the vast majority of tasks are performed by humans, we will have a notable increased share of machines and algorithms approaching 2022 and by 2030 robots will replace nearly 800 million workers across the world. In general, roughly one-fifth of the global workforce will experience the impact of Artificial Intelligence and automation adaptation, according to the report.
It is not a faraway perspective to think that the shopkeeper next door, with whom we exchange witty jokes or have a warm chats after busy, tiring days while buying drinks or groceries, will be replaced by a smart robot, performing his job faster and more efficiently. However, more “human” skills, such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation will be in increased demand.
Taking into account that our positive self-perception and self-worth largely correlates with our employment status, what will save us from falling into a deep depression and despair after the job loss? Again, we have two contradicting perspectives on the future of humans.
Dr Subhash Kak, a computing expert at Oklahoma University, believes that the job shift from humans to robots will lead humans into a life of meaningless misery and will cause their engagement with self-destructive behaviours. As he told the Daily Star Online, the US opioid addiction and the rise of extremist groups are an early omen of a dystopian future.
In contrary to that, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum believes that, “if managed well, the Fourth Industrial Revolution can bring a new cultural renaissance, which will make us feel part of something much larger than ourselves: a true global civilization. I believe the changes that will sweep through society can provide a more inclusive, sustainable and harmonious society. But it will not come easily.”
It will not come easily - this is the key concept applied to the coming changes in the labour market. Career shifts, creativity, adaptation to technological innovations, lifelong learning… There are more strategies elaborated to handle the process, but like any other transition, our switch to the new phase of development will not come easily. Some countries will handle it easier, some will suffer more, but changes are inevitable.
If you are in the UK for example, you can check out the likelihood of your current occupation to be replaced by robots here .
We can assume a similar pace in other developed countries and a lower pace in less developed countries, but, one way or the other, it is going to influence us all.
Join our public discussion: “can machines or software take over our jobs?” and stay tuned for our further content on this, with some new tips.