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The future of jobs in a machine world

Matthew Griffin | March 17, 2016
Between 30 percent and 50 percent of today's jobs will be automated by machines over the next 20 to 30 years, so which jobs are the safest?

Over the past year there has been much speculation and tens of thousands of column inches devoted to trying to determine just how many jobs and what type of jobs are going to be replaced by new generation technology.

Today we’re used to, dare we say complacent towards Blue collar worker’s jobs being automated and as the joke goes the factory of the future might only need a Human and a dog to keep it running – a dog to make sure no one tampers with the machines and a Human to feed the dog. Fifty years from now however we might find that that job statistic was overly optimistic.

Researchers who have been looking at the impact that technology will have on the workforce seem to agree that in the next twenty to thirty years between 30% and 50% of the global workforce will be at great risk and for every job that’s handed over to the Machines there will be at least two that are no longer advertised.

The human in the loop

When people talk about the impact technology will have on the jobs market the debates are predicated on how it’s technology that will take our jobs. I want to point this out as a misnomer because it’s not technology that will come after your job it will be company executives guided by market forces and economics that decide that new age machines and systems can do your job better and cheaper than you and it’s they, not an AI that will instruct HR to E-Mail you your P45.

This might seem like a quaint point to make but it’s important to remember that it’s todays and tomorrows executives who have the final say on whether or not they make a tier or a section of their workforce redundant. The social responsibility of this “Human in the Loop” is all too easily over looked and as a society we mustn’t forget that we have options and a duty of care to each other - just because we can make people redundant, sometimes ruining lives and families it doesn’t necessarily mean we should.

End of social responsibility message…

The law of accelerating returns

Technology is advancing now faster than it ever has before. At current rates, as advanced technologies are combined to create even more advanced technologies over the next 100 years we won’t see 100 years’ worth of technological progress we’ll see 20,000. Think back to the technologies and platforms we had available to us 500, 200, 100, 10 years ago and just 5 years ago and you’ll be able to see the acceleration for yourself. The consequence of all of this is that the length of time between each wave of industrial and societal disruption is getting progressively shorter and the upshot is that if technology doesn’t put your job at risk today then it’s likely it will tomorrow.


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