Jobs won’t entirely disappear; many will simply be redefined. But people will likely lack new skillsets required for new roles and be out of work anyway.
Regular reports warn us that an automation apocalypse is nigh. A McKinsey & Company study found that about 30% of tasks in 60% of occupations could be computerized and last year, the Bank of England’s chief economist said that 80m US and 15m UK jobs might be taken over by robots.
Areas like advertising and marketing are changing and shifting, too. Concepts like contextual advertising, the technology that causes ads relevant to you to pop up while you’re surfing the web, make it technologically easier for companies to reach their target consumers. However, companies making decisions about how to spend their advertising dollars are looking to harness technology to unlock more analytics that assess where they’re getting the most bang for their buck.
And while companies want that hard data, they also want someone who understands what the data says, can explain the data, and advise them accordingly. Not necessarily something that a computer can do. This desire for the human touch still applies universally. For example, how many times have you dialed a 1-800 number and hit “0” repeatedly to get a real person on the line because you preferred a human being over the automated system? There are some things that computers simply will not be able to do—or at least, it will take a long transition for them to reach mastery.
It’s also important to remember that our society has weathered shifts like this before. While it’s true that computers and printers have made jobs like typists and secretaries defunct, the same technology that eliminated those jobs actually created millions of jobs in areas like IT. There will always be the need for employees to run and manage and develop the computers and machines that are performing the tasks that humans once did. The key to staying ahead of the game is being adaptable and informed about the progression of these types of your technologies in your specific field and how you can actually leverage the technology to your advantage.
The World Economic Forum released a statement the rise of robots replacing humans would lead to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020 – which is quickly approaching.