The supposition that techies are going to be okay as population continues to grow in developed countries is belied by an article which appeared in Electronic Engineering Magazine recently.
On this site we have long opined on the surge in population as reducing jobs for many, particularly the less educated, but this piece focuses on engineers with skills which now are going to be at least partially overwhelmed by robots.
According to a recent report released by Oxford Economics, millions of laborers in the manufacturing sector are projected to lose their jobs to robots by 2030 — 20 million laborers to be exact.
And while most of the impact is expected to be felt by lower-skilled laborers, many economists agree that as technology advances, there simply will not be enough jobs to go around. The industries expected to be least impacted by technology are those that will always require a “human touch.” This includes the arts, social work, and any other job functions requiring creativity, compassion, and social intelligence, according to Oxford.
For us engineers, there exists a dichotomy. The future will be autonomous vehicles, drones that predict nuclear meltdowns, generative algorithms…, but none of it will come into being unless we (engineers) roll up our sleeves and build the world sci-fi novels have been envisioning for decades. While we are called to create the future, the data all suggests the same outcome: the technologies we are building will eventually replace us.
We live in a complex era. While it’s exciting to see Trekkie technologies take shape in the real world, we simultaneously see how these technologies can create massive waves of unemployment across the globe (which some economists argue will make things such as universal income a norm). Still, every thorn is attached to a rose. With less time spent in a cubicle, we could spend our days enjoying our families, making art, and creating yet more inventions for an even more progressive future.
Yes, there are always new options for innovators but as AI looms and other assaults occur, more and more of us, including those with high skills gone obsolete may to their surprise find themselves unemployed!!
"It is in the moments we encounter robots in the grocery store and humanoids at the front desks of hotels that we realize we are already living in the future."
— Church and State (@ChurchAndStateN) February 20, 2020
From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013
By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
The future of work: is your job safe? | The Economist
The big debate about the future of work, explained
What will future jobs look like? | Andrew McAfee
How we’ll earn money in a future without jobs | Martin Ford
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