Impact of Technology on Jobs

Along with rapid AI/cognitive technology, the industrial world is disrupted, and many jobs have been eliminated or assisted by robots. In the new future, we will be seeing even more tremendous leaps and greater impact on jobs.

These are jobs that have already been replaced/assisted by robots or will evolve with technology in the near future.

1. Assembly-Line/Factory Workers/Fast Food Workers
Up to 20 million manufacturing jobs around the world could be replaced by robots by 2030, according to analysis firm Oxford Economics. Today, almost all large manufacturing companies are already using machines to make millions of products. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics has estimated that fast food jobs will be eliminated by 2024.

2. Phone Operators And Receptionists.
As voice recognition and speech synthesis become more advanced, it gets easier for companies to implement these systems. In many offices today, virtual receptionists have taken over the phone lines and visitor management systems handle signing in visitors.

3. Packing, Stockroom, And Warehouse Moving

Robots controlled by computers are replacing jobs that involve packing or moving of goods. Amazon is already using robots to move all products to packers who then mail the products to customers. Other companies are also using autonomous forklift machines to move, load, and offload goods.

4. Bank Tellers And Clerks
In the past, it was not uncommon for a bank to have many workers. Today, ATMs have replaced many human workers as more people are moving into digital banking. Banks and the financial industry may soon become even more disrupted as more people move to a digital currency, like Bitcoin, and handle their financial transactions digitally.  

5. Prescriptions
Reports suggest that nearly 70 per cent of community pharmacies in Denmark use automated or robotic dispensing technology and many countries will be catching up in the years to come.

6. Self-Driving Vehicles
Self-driving cars are becoming more of a reality. With technologies already used today, like assisted driving in Tesla cars and automated Uber test cars, more companies and services are beginning to use this technology. Millions of bus drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, and other transportation jobs will be replaced.

Companies are also working on autonomous underground, dozing, drilling, and hauling solutions for mining and construction that could reduce these types of jobs. Farming companies also have tractors and lawnmowers that are autonomous or can assist in driving.

7. Information Gathering, Analysts And Researchers
Law firms are already replacing paralegals and other staff with e-discovery lawyers and research robots. These robots are capable of combing through millions of documents and discovering relevant facts, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and other information based on keywords.

Many financial analysts are also being replaced by computer programs designed to analyze and find patterns and trends in financial data.

8. Journalists And Reporters
Many news agencies and websites are already employing the help of computer-assisted writing and information gathering software robots. Instead of employing humans to select, edit and curate news articles on its homepages, companies like Microsoft, retrenched many dozens of journalists and replaced them with artificial intelligence software in June 2020. In about 15 years, more than 90 percent of news will be written by a computer. 

9. Pilots
The United States Military is already using autonomous drones that conduct surveillance and even attack without the assistance of humans. As these drones become more advanced and capable, they are going to be adapted to other fields, such as replacing the pilots of cargo planes used by FedEx, UPS, and other similar companies. There are already many companies looking into replacing their fleet of pilots with computer-assisted pilots that could be remotely aided by a handful of pilots if needed.

10. Bartenders
There are already companies working on and implementing systems to replace bartenders that serve alcohol or coffee drinks. Texas-based Briggo are increasing their totally automated coffee machines and replacing baristas with robots to make many popular drinks and even learn how to make new drinks. A robot in Japan, made by QBIT Robotics, can pour a beer in 40 seconds and mix a cocktail in a minute.

11. Stock Traders
Today’s stock market is full of computers that buy and sell stocks online, replacing many of the stock trader jobs that used to exist. In the past, there were stock floor traders who handled all stock trading. Today, most of the trading is controlled by computers. In February 2017, Goldman Sach’s New York headquarters sacked 600 traders and replaced them with 200 computer engineers who were in charged of overseeing automated trading programs.  

12. Postal Workers
Today, on a modest level, some postal workers are replaced by automated sorting machines which can read and sort mails faster and cheaper. In a not-so-distant future, postal workers face a reality of losing their jobs completely.

Self-checkout lines are commonly found in grocery stores worldwide since its initial debut in 1992. Although these computers are still watched by one human, that one person is doing the job for what used to require several people.

14. Online Shopping And Robot Deliveries
In late 2002, the SARS outbreak led to a tremendous growth of both business-to-business and business-to-consumer online marketplace platforms. Similarly, COVID-19 has transformed online shopping from a nice-to-have to a must-have around the world and offering contactless delivery services. China is one of the countries who is ramping up their development of robot deliveries.

15. Doctors, Anesthesiologist And Surgeon Robots
Robots are assisting highly skilled professions, like doctors and anesthesiologists. In some cases, robots are replacing humans to perform common surgeries or tasks without the aid of a human.

IBM’s Watson computer is also used in the medical field to help doctors diagnose and review medical information and medical history. Watson is even helping in the development of medical research. As it becomes smarter and faster, it is going to take the place of many jobs that are handling the same tasks.

16. Soldiers And Guards
Today, many militaries already use autonomous and remotely flying drones as a replacement for many missions. Many militaries are also researching and creating robots to replace human ground soldiers. These robots can be deployed to guard an area, assist soldiers in carrying heavy gear, and even can detect and attack enemies.

There are also companies developing security guard robots to patrol and monitor an area at night. For example, Knightscope has deployed many across US and they can hear, see in day and night, and even smell dangers in the area they are patrolling. These robots can immediately alert humans when it senses danger or potential threats.

17. Travel Agents
Before the Internet, many people worked as travel agents to help find, arrange, and book the best deal for traveling. Today, with the Internet and computers, you can do this yourself without needing a travel agent.

18. Chefs And Cooks
There are robots that prepare much of the packaged food you find in the store. However, there are also companies, like Moley Robotics has launched a robotic chef that can make dishes resembling the skills of a master chef. Robotic arms are created to act as a personal chef in your home kitchen. These robots could use your recipes or recipes from professional chefs.

19. Bomb Squad
Bomb disposal robots are actively used by the military and police to examine and, if found, destroy bombs without endangering human life. These robots are not autonomous and still require remote controlling by a human, but they are an example of robots assisting people.

20. Typist
Before computers, there were hundreds of secretaries and typists whose jobs were to type letters and other documents. Today, the computer has made these jobs obsolete and, with the improvements in voice recognition capabilities, computers are now also able to type for you as you talk.

21. Switchboard Operator
Early phones required a human operator to be on the other side of the phone, directing your call to whom you wanted to talk by manually moving plugs into other jacks. Today, all switching is handled by computers and no longer requires a human operator.

22.  Ball Pinsetter
Not many people realize that bowling alleys are using robots to reset the pins each time you knock the pins down. In the past, a person would sit next to the pins, clearing and setting the pins each time someone bowled.

23. Film Projectionists
When film movies first ran in cinemas, a person was trained and in charge of running the projector. Today’s projectors are digital and usually run automatically or minimally controlled by any of the employees who are already working on other jobs in the theater.

24. Home And Small Garden
Even your home garden is being automated with projects, like Farmbot, which started in 2011 by an American, Rory Aronson. It is able to plant produce of your choice, efficiently water those plants, and remove weeds for you as everything grows.

25. Hotel Staff/Room Service/Cleaners
There are a few hotels that have started experimenting with replacing hotel staff, such as receptionists and room service employees, with robots that complete the same tasks. Like all other technologies, as they become more efficient and more widely accepted, many companies are replacing cleaners with robots.

26. Remote Work

Remote work is very common these days and it is enabled by technologies including virtual private networks (VPNs), voice over internet protocols (VoIPs), virtual meetings, cloud technology, work collaboration tools and even facial recognition technologies. While remote work saves commute time and provides more flexibility, employees may experience loneliness and lack of work-life balance. Employers may also decide to reduce lease costs and hire people from regions with cheaper labour costs.

27. Teachers
As of mid-April 2020, 191 countries started online learning. Technologies involved in distant learning are similar to those for remote work and also include virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing and artificial-intelligence enabled robot teachers. Digital readiness is important as distance learning creates economic pressure on parents, especially women who need to stay home to watch their children who are learning at home, thus affecting their productivity.

British education expert Anthony Seldon predicted that in 2027, robots will do the main job of transferring information for teachers.

28. Workers At Entertainment Venues
Online streaming of concerts have gain traction around the world. Museums and international heritage sites offer virtual tours and people are watching movies online rather than going to cinemas. There has also been a surge of online gaming traffic. Jobs like tour guides, ushers, ticketing officers and gaming shops attendants will need to be re-skilled before their jobs are eliminated.

As AI goes mainstream, its disruptive impacts are likely to be seen at an unprecedented speed and scale, transforming the composition and nature of work. An increased in automation will boost jobs and economic growth but MIT study also revealed that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating. This industrial disruption contributes to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in many technologically advanced countries.

Policymakers need to anticipate the specific changes that are likely to take place and re-skill the displaced workers so they can transit to new jobs. There is also a need to consider the implications for the education sector and ensure that it is better equipped to build the skills required for current and future work. Education policies are the foundation for building technological capabilities and a fundamental element for addressing inequalities of opportunity.