Looking forward, I want to try to not only be better prepared myself, but to share this view to others. There is a good chance you reading this is a result of me sending you this link. I ask you read in entirety, and even if you don't agree start to think critically about the future. I have spent years (since this blog started) thinking and reading to come to this current point of view. I encourage you to click through all the links I provide to prove my thought process. Also note the year of the link! Chances are links are old so the capability is much better today!
The root problem is NOT Republican or Democrat, top 1% rich or the 'lazy' poor. The economic problems we see in the world is simply because technology is advancing at such a brisk pace, humans cannot adapt. It is true, those who own the technology do get richer as technology is used to reduce costs and increase profits. But this isn't an evil play by the richest to take all the wealth, it is part of the current monetary system in place for 1,000's of years (generally speaking).
How can I say technology? The mantra you always hear is technology creates jobs. And yes, we can point back to plenty of examples of this. But that was when technology had a fraction of the power it has today. Moore's law basically states technology doubles in power every 18 months. Think about that, since the dawn of computing to day, in 18 months the same chip will be twice as powerful as what we worked on creating for last 50 years. In 2023 a computer can compute equal to a human brain, for about $1k. In 2050, a computer for $1k will compute equal to all humans on the planet.
Tracing Exponential Growth from Singularity University on Vimeo.
This is the undercurrent driver for the maturing of technology in automation. The net is when automation is adopted, the reason its profitable is NET you reduce labor in that sector.
We are seeing this mature, and its very easy to see the future if you simply pay attention.
Lets start with automatic driving cars. Next year, 30 cities will have self-driving cars allowed in limited use areas. Already this year (2015) Nevada is allowing trucks to run on highways that drive themselves. At the moment a truck driver must be in the driver seat available to take over. But how long until its proven to be safer than a person? 2 years? 5? not 10!
Once self driving cars and trucks are in place, most taxi drivers, limo drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers, school bus, and eventually house delivery drivers will no longer be required. Dispatchers and coordinators (back office) won't be needed either. Companies like Uber will enable people to book driver-less cars at much cheaper prices than I pay today. I already use uber and its 50% cheaper than a taxi or limo to the airport now!.
Once I can book Uber to pick me up, drop me off, and that car will run continuously (only needs to stop for recharge), the costs will plummet to rent that time. Many people will opt to not even own a car! This will of course cut down in car sales as people used the pool of what used to be idle cars sitting on streets and driveways as ways to share the cars.
So not only will people who drive be at risk, but the car industry itself will be cut back as the car manufactures, gas stations, mechanic shops, after-market car ships all will be reduced. The differences between different manufactures will be not as important, as people don't even bother to buy a car for personal use.
So, I hope you can see this impact is not as far off as people want to think, once these devices are proven safe, it will be a rapid transition to this new model.
We have all heard how low Chinese laborers are paid, and they work insane hours, with no rights, and its legendary about suicide due to the work conditions.
What if I told you that this work force is TOO expensive to do manufacturing anymore? Well, China is full steam ahead to start building cities with 100% automated factories. Apple already announced bringing manufacturing back to USA in form of automated assembly plants, where 200 US workers can replace 1,000's. As a local note, the Hostess Twinkie manufacturing was turned profitable by automating 9,000 workers down to only 500. With better quality, at dramatically lower cost.
OK, so America lost bulk of their manufacturing, and now jobs are returning to USA, so that's good right? NET however, we are talking globally manufacturing to shed millions of jobs through automation.
What about menial tasks like warehouses? A combination of what Amazon is already doing to eliminate need for fork lift operators combined with robots like baxter , with automated delivery, should eliminate 98% of the labor required compared to warehouses in the 1980s.
And Robots already have AI to learn through experiment. (Video game Mario here)
2016-09-18 - Video was on industrial robots, changed to Humans Need not Apply
So we have delivery people, manufacturing, and packers dramatically reduced, is that it?
To make this article shorter, I will list other areas that we know TODAY that are ripe for downsizing. There are many more that will become clearer in the years ahead.
- Study projects with machine learning 60% Manufacturing, 66% Finance, and many more...
- Construction (Hotels, homes, Bridges, and reduce Architects as the construction becomes automated)
- Cooking ( Restaurants first, then your kitchen! even making Chinese noodles by Chinese peasants too costly!)
- Language Translators
- Fast Food Workers
- Car Dealerships
- Valet car Attendants
- Taxi/Limo drivers, Truck Drivers, Earth Movers
- Manufacturing Jobs (Many firms will cease to manufacture, simply design and you print the product at home)
- End of raising animals on farms, instead move to the lab (much less labor intense, lower energy, higher quality)
- Warehouse Pickers
- Routine repeatable tasks (GREAT video here Jan-2016)
- Military Jet Pilots
- Dock Workers < Good example the 'new' Dock worker will need to manage/monitor robots.
- Train Drivers
- Personal Office Assistant
- Tattoo Artists
- Lawn Maintenance (Lawn Mower, Snow Blower, eventually leaf collection)
- Military ( Augmenting carrying, Robots)
- Customized object manufacturing ( this shows plastic, but metal, wood, etc all advancing)
- Computer Data Center staff (moving to cloud, eliminate Network Engineers, Virtualization specialists, specialized skills like Database Admins, Middleware admins, etc)
- 2nd and 3rd world country cheap manufacturing labor
- Physical Therapy
- Watch makers (as they get replaced by technical companies such as Apple)
- Tax accountants (as we move to a cashless society & better software services)
- Direct sales people like Insurance Agents (move to web sales)
- Librarians (As side note, my son's school their library most shelves are bare, they just use computers)
- Mish lists 20+ jobs here
- Medical - Personal data liberation using imaging, analysis, married with Artificial Intelligence, genetic analysis, and simulation will take a chunk out of this area too.
- Finance - Anything in finance is at risk. Finance is information, and information can be automated. Once we move to cashless society majority of location-based finance establishments won't be needed. Over 80% of all trading is by robots already.
- I will be continually updating on Google+ Robot advancements, click here #MarchOfTheRobots
- Follow publication The-Vital-Edge.com for in-depth articles on the changing employment landscape being driven by automation.
- World investor and my FAVORITE investor Jim Chanos identifies this as the basic economic problem of the world!
Not only are jobs being shed, those who do work are being optimized to reduce costs (pay) and optimized time (work 60+ hours). A great site to see some of this in action, and how CHEAP is Freelancer.com
OK, so what now?
Basically if you are in a job that is going to be affected, and retirement is not an option, action now is required. I myself left a secure position to embrace the cloud and work in a vibrant, growing company.
If your just starting out, choose a job that basically involves innovation. Things like nano tech, robotics, design, biotech, anything that is new. For once whatever the new thing is invented and standardize, the work involved will be optimized. To remain in demand, you must be in a job of continual innovation.
Those who remain working will face FIERCE competition for your job. So you must be truly the best candidate for the job, and remain so to remain employed. Once a gap in employment occurs, full recovery will be near impossible.
The good news is learning has never been easier! Google for learning sites, watch programs like TED to expand your view.
Videos and Articles
Kurzweil Q&A: What Will Humans Be Uniquely Suited to Do When Robots Are Prevalent?
Stephen Wolfram - AI & Future of Civilization
In Europe Fake Jobs Can Have Real Benefits
World without Work
A Humorous view of Robots learning, they are barely toddlers! By 2023 they will hit age 18 :)
And other images to 'inspire' where this is heading.