Last week Amazon Go opened it’s first store, ushering in a new era of technology assisted existence. As some detractors would be quick to point out, the new era of Amazon seems to be sans human jobs. Amazon Go has replaced cashiers. Their warehouses have replaced low skill labor.
Amazon is not the first to automate their processes in ever increasing efficiency. Automation has been steadily increasing in fields like medical and automobiles for years.
Yet job related fears increase as technology increases exponentially, artificial intelligence proves usable, and tech companies prove daily efficiencies and profit to be made.
The future of humanity is unlikely to be jobless, regardless the fears and decreases in certain sectors of the labor force. Exactly where can jobs benefit from the rapid increase in technology?
The first and most obvious regarding the future job market is positions in the STEM field. Science, technology, engineering, and math fields already have a shortage of employees. Thus, the push in childhood development for all four fields.
While STEM might be a jump for some of us, particularly those who were born before the mid 1980’s, children now are exposed to multiple different forms of robots, coding, and technology development. While most parents consider game consoles and other toys to exist for entertainment, consumer products for children have become more advanced in development and learning.
All forms of robots and toys now enable children to code the actions themselves. Simple robots teach preschoolers the basics of coding and mechanics. Legos offer kits with sensors and motors to build robots. The additions teach children engineering and motion with their existing Lego blocks.
Each toy offering children an opportunity to learn building and coding while the process is fun.
Even Nintendo is getting in on the action with Lado, a cardboard DIY accessory to the Switch console. The infrared sensors and instructions teach children how technology works, not just how to consume technology.
Non – STEM
Despite the burgeoning growth in fields related to automation, not all of us are designed for the left hemisphere fields. While machine learning can change its own algorithms, creating software as it learns, there are certain aspects that cannot be achieved by machines and coders.
Currently language and scripts lead as the most needed non-tech involvement in building technology. Actors and writers create chatbot voices and written content. In fact, technology has yet to replace human creativity and empathy with artificial intelligence.
Which means the jobs that will remain in place long after the automation revolution are those jobs most tied to humans being human. Jobs such as mental health, therapists, surgeons and doctors will remain necessary despite advances in technology. Building complex relationships is outside a computer’s capabilities.
Similarly, jobs that are entirely unpredictable will be safe. Machine learning is capable of re-writing algorithms to change response patterns, but the technology is still based on patterns. A machine will be unable to meet any job requirement of on the spot thinking in an unpredictable manner.
Technology as tools
At the end of the day, the debate regarding humans losing jobs is moot. Technology will continue to expand and grow. And while it’s true technology will decrease the need for humans in some positions, it will not decrease the need for humans entirely.
Instead, all of technology’s advances offer humanity growth and potential. Software can remove human error, increasing efficiencies and reducing profit decreasing mistakes. The medical field can save money and ensure people do not need unnecessary and costly surgeries. Big data and machine learning can assist businesses with tailoring ads, products, and entire shopping experience.
The opportunities for efficiencies and productivity are almost infinite.
And at the end of the day, technology is still in its infancy. There is so much more human creativity can bring about when combined with technology. We benefit from looking at how we are advanced rather than what is taken away.