Service of the Next Century: Are Service Jobs Likely to be Replaced by Machines?

Job loss numbers made headlines around the world this past decade, following the worst recession in recent years. Now, industry experts are predicting another round of troubled times to come as robot technology and automation kick into high gear. While blue-collar job security has been questionable to say the least since machines took over the factory floor during the 20th century, now many service industry jobs and white-collar positions are also predicted to become a thing of the past.

What jobs will be lost to automation?

No city in North America will be unaffected by automation, though typically low-wage areas will certainly suffer the most. Automation will become ubiquitous in the next decade or so, and the first jobs to go are anything related to food preparation and service, sales, and administration duties.

Other people whose jobs are at risk of being automated include taxi drivers/chauffeurs, truck drivers, and even physicians. While some jobs are certainly more at risk than others, the key here is that automation will have an effect on every industry of the working world so long as a task is considered repetitive, no matter how prestigious the job is considered by today’s social standards. According to this website: – You can take the test and search your industry.

Food Preparation and Service

Walk into any grocery store in a major urban area, and the signs are already there. Self-service checkouts have been around for years. Amazon’s Go grocery store is possibly one way of the future. Elsewhere, countries like Japan are working on other technologies to totally automate the checkout process, so that the shopper simply puts their grocery basket into the robot checkout machine, which then does the rest (bagging included).

In China, robot servers and chefs have also been around for years. They may not be the most efficient as of yet, but automation is getting better by the hour as private industries and academic research labs continue to channel their resources towards improving the technology. Already, any task that is remotely repetitive such as chopping vegetables can be taken over by the appropriately programmed robots.

Sales and Administration

In the world of white-collar jobs, sales and administrative duties are the first to be on their way out. Administrative assistants, accountants and bookkeepers are all red-flagged as some of the most likely jobs to be phased out over the next decade or two. The effects are already being seen in places like major banks. While a job title like ‘mortgage financer’ might sound as safe and steady as can be, banking software has hit the point where it can and has taken over human jobs. Even online banking has had a toll on the number of blank clerk jobs available. Clearly, even office jobs are no longer safe.

Driving Jobs

Everybody knows how Uber has steadily encroached upon taxi territories in the past few years. By being more efficient and reliable than traditional taxis, they won the hearts of riders everywhere. Now, they’re looking to replace the driver in the equation by simply having a fleet of automated cars driving around town, and they’re not the only ones.

The trucking industry is one of the biggest sources of employment in North America. Given that driverless trucks are already on the road in some areas, many truckers are warily waiting for the day when automated trucks will be the de facto industry standard. Predictions have put job losses in this industry at anywhere from 80 to 100 percent – or 1.3 to 1.7 million jobs across America.

The Medical Industry

One of the least obvious victims of job automation are highly skilled surgeons and other medical specialists. Deep learning algorithms have already learned how to detect malignant cancer tumours better than expert human eyes. Highly precise operations like soft tissue surgery are also being assisted or completely taken over by surgical robots. Other areas of healthcare that are undergoing automation include pharmacy and geriatric care. Thanks to improved automation technology, medicine dosages are more accurate than ever before, reducing risks to patient health. In terms of elderly care, robots are able to socialize with patients, in addition to caregivers with tasks such as lifting patients from their beds.

Working in an automated world

While it is evident that many jobs will be lost to robot technology and other forms of automation, the need for specialized workers who know how to interact with such technology is already on the rise. Workers who have backgrounds in everything from nanochemistry to automation technician training are required to develop and maintain new forms of technology, both in labs and on the field.

Pressures are rising for governments to improve existing technology curriculums in public schools. For those who are already in the working world or are about to enter post-secondary education, options for learning about robotic technology and automation range from traditional in-class educational programs to online technology courses. While many may think that universities are the only way to get into highly technical fields like robotics, college courses can also offer a path to working with automation technology.

By undertaking the appropriate education and hands-on training, anybody can realign their careers in order to thrive despite the rise of automation. Truck drivers, high school students and surgeons alike can all benefit from inventing and reinventing themselves by investing in continuous education if they wish to become employable members of the new age workforce.

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