Are The Machines Coming To Take Your Job?

Many of the jobs that provide safety and security for millions of people are in danger of disappearing as work patterns change. Artificial intelligence, advanced software, specialised robots and even the Internet enable machines to do many of the jobs previously done by people. But what does it mean for the future?


It is not the first time machines have replaced people in the workplace, as the Industrial Revolution disrupted millions of jobs, caused searing hardship to families and destroyed whole communities.

On previous occasions, however, more jobs were ultimately created than lost which led to higher overall economic growth and a rise in prosperity for the bulk of the population.

The fear this time is that more jobs will be lost than created as computers and machines become more resourceful and are able to carry out more complex and testing tasks.

Today’s breed of machine is terrifyingly intelligent and hardwired for rapid learning in a way that allows it to take on jobs previously considered the preserve of humans.

Even skilled jobs that require training such as specialist areas of medicine, in relation to diagnosis; accountancy, in relation to audit; and discrete areas of law, such as drafting; are susceptible to disruption and even destruction.

The trend will continue, as more jobs fall prey to automation and middle-level salaries are walloped; while, ironically, greater salaries are paid to those with specific skills in areas of demand.

The Fear

The fear is that such change will lead to a two-tier economy with society divided between a majority of people in low-paid insecure jobs and a minority in well-paid secure jobs.

The capacity to acquire the right skills is the lifeblood of workers and the new hard currency of the digital economy, as adaptability is much prized and handsomely rewarded in a world that ceaselessly chases costs.

There is hope, however, as new jobs emerge in new areas and people with oomph and originality, not to mention the right skills, find ways to transcend the work done by machines.

In the past when the economy changed from agriculture to industry and large swathes of the population moved to live in cities, people adapted and as a result enjoyed a better standard of living.

This time, however, it is less certain whether the changes will create sufficient jobs or the levels of pay and security needed to sustain a stable society, not to mention an adequate standard of living.

The real challenge, therefore, is to make sure the numbers of jobs created and lost are managed in a way that captures the benefits of technology without wreaking havoc upon people’s lives.

SO, the machines are coming to take your job and the only way to survive is to make sure you have (and always have) the right skills.