We all know that automation is changing the international job landscape. But what jobs, when are they being taken, and how soon will it happen? It turns out, not all jobs are as easily replaced by automation, and some may never be (at least while we are alive). On the other hand, some jobs are going to be replaced any time now. Just like bygone career opportunities like human bowling pin resetter, these jobs are about to disappear forever.
Trash Collection – In Sweden, automated trash collection trucks have already taken to the streets. So far, they’re a roaring success. Faster and more affordable for cities than trucks operated by human drivers and bin grabbers, these new machines are an example of the ways that human workers are not as efficient as mechanized systems tasked with the same jobs. These early vehicles are experimental, but created by Volvo they have a level of quality and sophistication that just goes to show that these will be much more common in the future. With automated freight trucks and semis already making rounds without human drivers, it’s easy to see that garbage collection could be next.
Manufacturing – While steel suppliers like Avocet steel will still have their jobs for a long time, the people who turn these raw materials into products could be losing their gigs soon enough. Manufacturing jobs are down all around the developed world. In the United States, certain small and mid-size manufacturing operations are alive and well. But larger scale companies have adopted automation as cost-cutting measures. All but gone are the days when thousands of factory workers would toil under one roof, and where it still exists, this form’s days are numbered. 3D printing, advanced robotics, automation that collaborates with human workers – all of these are driving people out of the manufacturing business.
Restaurants Workers. It is well known that fast food workers may be out of work soon. International fast food giants like McDonald’s and Wendy’s have already adopted automated order-taking systems at the expense of human clerks. In the back of the kitchen, some places have even bought burger flipping robots, which can manage more orders and make more consistent products than even the most experienced human burger flipper. All this is well known, but did you know that automation is coming for the wait staff at the nicer restaurants, too? While we may never fully dispense with the hospitality industry, flying drones have been created which smoothly fly orders to tables and land them before patrons.
We’re in an age of uncertain employment. As the stock market reaches new heights week after week, and automation and technology advances along with it, it feels that sooner or later something has to give. Whether by economic correction or continued technological advancement, many more jobs will be lost. No one seems to have answered the question of what will happen to these workers, and how they will pay for their lives after losing the work they know. We don’t know the answer, but until then, automation is guaranteed.