Robots, machines, and artificial intelligence aren’t the menacing abstract villains of futuristic sci-fi novels and talkies from the 1950s. By the 2020s, intelligent gadgets, innovative engines, and “bionic persons” infiltrated our society, ready to take our place (?) How come, you may wonder. In short, they work more efficiently, snappier, and without inherent human error. And they are fast learners.
Moreover, they can function without a break and frequent maintenance (ideally.) Due to technological automation, human input is reduced to a minimum until it vanishes without a trace.
Technological automation raises countless moral dilemmas.
Imagine you’re a company top executive looking to maximize your profit. Would you keep your current human workforce? Or would you replace your employees with technology?
It’s a terrifying scenario, isn’t it? Because all reasoning points toward the direction of this chain of events occurring in the (not too) distant future. However, technological progress is simply unfathomable for Average Joe until it hits him like a ton of bricks.
First, we give up on our cognitive abilities, then …
Undoubtedly, we tacitly benefit from technical inventions and innovations in education, healthcare, transportation, communication, and business. We use smartphones, play video games, interact with friends on social media, and let applications think for us without raising questions.
The chances are this careless, lazy, and narcissistic lifestyle will backfire on us eventually. Can technology make us smarter or dumber? If you believe this is far-fetched nonsense, embark on this journey and see which jobs have been erased and which are on the verge of extinction!
Which are the jobs that disappeared due to technological automation?
Unfortunately, automation hit the workforce with the lowest education levels the most. Additionally, machines overtook physical toil and repeated sequences of actions. Let’s see, how many can you remember?
Did you know that Henry Ford was among the pioneers of implementing the assembly line process in the early 1900s? The truth is that workers were constantly exposed to various workplace risks and boredom due to monotonous work. Assembly line work has been replaced by automated process stations and robotics to finalize production tasks in multiple sessions.
In warehouses, laborers regularly had to lift heavy products and packages and perform other physically demanding tasks. Leaving these jobs to humans would have been a foolish thing.
Before 1941, when Atanasoff devised the first digital computer in America, the math calculations had been completed by humans. People of great intellect had used notebooks (not made by Apple or Sony) to calculate percentages, sums, and net values. Sometimes, it took weeks or months to figure out the exact quantity.
Lift and telephone operators.
Lifts were operated by actual people. Being a lift operator was considered a highly-desired and quite lucrative job (because of the tips.) However, by the 1970s, most US elevator operators lost their jobs to automation.
Switchboard operators responsible for connecting calls nationwide shared the same fate. For example, the Bell Telephone System employed around 342 million people in the 50s. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported only 5,000 employees as phone operators in 2021.
The development of the ATM (automated teller machine) in the 1960s was the first instance of a bank teller’s job being lost to technology. Since then, internet banking, contactless card payments, robo-advisors (used for maximizing your investment opportunities), and financial chatbots have replaced a traditional bank clerk’s job.
Does your profession figure on the list of jobs automation can take over?
Technology moves and develops quickly. Thus, many jobs could become outdated quite soon. You can hardly name a safe profession that isn’t exposed to the dangers of technological automation.
Automation software is predicted to take the place of data entry clerks. The manual entry assignments will end entirely by 2030. Excellent software, like Microsoft SQL Server, Knack, or Improvado, can manage complex databases, so why not use a script to extract, shape, and upload data automatically?
Due to automation, travel agents, textile workers, cashiers, mail carriers, dispatchers, and printing press operatives may also risk losing their jobs. Intelligent applications, websites, machines, or drones are more likely to replace them because they deliver the same work quality at more affordable functioning and low maintenance prices.
Can technology stand a chance in human sciences?
The most optimistic believe technological automation doesn’t stand a chance against its human counterpart in many fields. However, they don’t consider that technology, software, robotics, and AI can learn and mimic human thinking expertly. And actually be more successful at it.
Automation in education or robots in the classroom
Teachers, educators, language professors, and translators benefit from excellent programs and applications. However proficient a language translation app (Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, and WordLens) can be, their texts will require double-checking by real humans for many years.
Additionally, it’s hard to imagine that technology can supersede teachers in classrooms because keeping children engaged in the material is extremely difficult. It takes more than interactive learning programs (like Kahoot, Khan Academy, Explain Everything, etc.) and humanoid robots (for example, Pepper, a droid used in Japan) to replace real educators (for now.)
Technology in real estate
We’re far from complete real estate automation. Nevertheless, agents use automated notification systems, MLS, and real estate apps to improve their workflow. Let’s face it, though, we live in an age where everything is possible.
Real estate can ‘become’ digital, for example. Then, instant buyers, an entirely digitalized platform, has been created where sellers and buyers can do business without a go-between. However, the lack of genuine human touch makes everything cold and impersonal. Plus, participants expose themselves to unseen financial risks.
Can I ask a robot nurse, please?
Duke University’s School of Engineering and School of Nursing designed a humanoid robot called Tele-Robotic Intelligent Nursing Assistant (TRINA), which will take care of infectious patients under quarantine without human intervention. The artificially navigated robot takes vital signs and delivers medication.
The US medical system is often understaffed and overworked. Analysts believe introducing autonomous mobile robots in US hospitals will unburden doctors and nurses of minor and repetitive tasks. The day when robots assist surgeons in operations is pretty close.
As you can see, virtually, there’s no ‘safe zone’ or irreplaceable human occupation that technological automation can’t fill.
The only way to fend off technological automation taking over is to keep up with current scientifical breakthroughs. Besides, keep your eyes peeled for domains, niches, and occupations your state lacks presently. There’s an acute job shortage in the following fields: technicians, farmers, skilled workers, accounting, nurses, drivers, engineers, and IT staff.
Ultimately, we must choose between two straightforward options. Either we let technology and automation do our daily tasks, think for us, and then replace us. Or, we can pursue a path of continuous knowledge vs skill acquisition! We can only stand our ground against the machines by choosing the second alternative.