Less Jobs in the Future

Anyone that has read “Race Against the Machine,” a book that renewed the debate about the relationship between the pace of automation and job growth, might think that the pace of automation is accelerating so fast, that they might wonder where or how their kid’s future might be shared with robotics in the work force.


Not that all these jobs would be dream jobs for kids in the future, but if I had a heart to heart talk with today’s “youth”about what they want to do when they grow up, I would ask them to reconsider or shy away from older jobs and focus on newer ones. Everybody knows automating jobs is steadily increasing.

Travel Agents seek employment elsewhere because of Priceline.com.  Accountants weren’t too thrilled when Turbo Tax came out.  Customer Service jobs, receptionists  and admins were replaced with voice automation. Even poor, struggling writers now have to compete with software automation too. http://narrativescience.com/ http://automatedinsights.com/

So is automation bad for humans? If automation significantly reduces the amount of work there is to go around, ( tedious or not) could it lead to fundamental, economic problems? Fewer high-paying jobs? Lower consumer spending? “We may automate ourselves into a recession,” says Matt Beane, MIT researcher.  He calls it the Avatar Economy. http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428434/the-avatar-economy/

It seems that college tuition is at an all time high and way too overpriced for what you get. And most of the classes offered might seem irrelevant to the average person who is grateful to find job stability and will need to compete with a robot.

I wouldn’t be surprised that colleges will eventually be forced to decrease in tuition. …one day. Who would pay 125k to gamble on a 50/50 chance of being unemployed. Instead of high school guidance counselors introducing colleges and traditional careers, they may have to come up with better approaches. Getting or qualifying college funding isn’t the problem. It’s NOT turning down all that easy college money, that is. It’s just like the sub prime mortgage bubble. Lots of cash readily available, that’s inflating college tuition.

Eventually colleges will be competing with companies that showcase more “up to date,”  relevant, education/training programs to recruit and add to their workforce. They are matching the training to the types of jobs that have growing demand. The average student studying English Literature or Psychology might drop out for a more competitive, challenging career, even though they may start at the bottom. But, at least they will be debt free and more dynamic. Maybe they will be competing with robots, or using workforce automation software. Instead of being replaced, they might be in charge of management, maintenance, best practices or troubleshooting. http://www.refinery29.com/2013/06/48864/google-jobs-without-college-degree

If I were the travel agents, accountants, receptionist, writers or retail workers of the world, I would  invest in the time to learn more about these companies that do not require a degree. And simply start over. Or, for a son or daughter that isn’t getting the right value from college. Is it a bubble or a scandal? Either way, maybe there will be a shift as to how we become “job ready.” Here’s a thought….

If all the rich, robot, automation technology companies take over 90% of the workforce of other companies, won’t those rich, robot, automation technology companies still need to hire more real people? Who would they hire? What would they need us for? If corporations increases in productivity and increase in profits, where would humans be most valued? With all this automation, what would you tell your kids to pursue? Do you think smaller, innovative companies will outpace the traditional college with better and more relevant learning? Do you think our unemployment rate will be a true, accurate reflection of increasing job automation?


18 thoughts on “Less Jobs in the Future

  1. Farms are now fully automated, so, the idea is nothing new. Not to worry about voice automation…. companies are now reverting back to the person at the end of the line. They found out people hang up when they hear an automated voice, or they wait for a real person to talk to.


  2. Thanks all. @renxkyoko I heard of those. Hydroponic automated farms. Very popular in Europe. So glad that you visited again. @PG And I am sure one day, we will all have our very own personal robot, that we can train and program and lease out to high paying corporations. I might be nutty..but I am certainly giving it a lot of thought to how I would program, use and sell my robot/services…
    Thanx for all the likes”…lets follow each other on Twitter. my handle is @kybedard


  3. Automation may be about jobs in the near future, but it’s not about jobs in the long run. Provided our basic needs are met in a 100% automated fashion, and we conquer death, we can quite literally realize utopia eventually. In the meantime, we will have to deal with the starving mobs. I disagree that college will fall out of vogue. College will change, it will become less academic and more practical. Study programs that exist for the joy of learning will of course still exist, but the future will be a radically different place. Go singularity!


    1. Lets say robots can do anything including create more robots and repair robots. Do you think that as they replace more and more people those that are replaced will be taken care of for free? Is there evidence this happens now as machines replace us? Money and power are what many people seek. I think robots present the final battle in this power struggle. I doubt that if we were at the point where robots did all that the people in control of them would just hand over all we need to live for free. It is not happening now and it will not likely happen then. They will retain the power robots give them to control humans for all that gives them. There are things only humans are good for and so even in this world they will hold back money and goods to get these things. I believe this utopia will be fought for with much blood if it is ever really realized. It will have to get very bad before people fight. It is happening now between outsourcing, free trade, and automation of jobs. The value of labor is ever falling due to this. Sending jobs overseas where they do a days work for 5 bucks compared to our over 200 on average is akin to using slave labor in the past. Most people do not even see this. They simply pick on of the 2 political points of view and decide they must either tax us more or cut our budget more. No one is fighting the real battle of addressing the real problem of jobs going away in the first place. I wonder… if it came down to it would you elect to live poor and have automation or outsourcing, or would you fight one or both of these drains on our affluence? Would we willingly force ourselves to go backwards in how we do things if it meant having work and affluence for many more people and not just a few? Can we really even do this even if we want to?


  4. College becoming more practical…Let’s hope so. I am glad ..FINALLY there is the belief that college is NOT the only equalizer in America. The solution may not be to make college more affordable but more practical as u had mentioned… with more unique choices with the goal in mind..to prepare graduates to be “job ready, ” when they enter the workplace.


  5. Humankind is an ever-evolving society, that produces the same challenges. The emergence of airplanes must have worried ship builders, the invention of television must have signaled the death nail to live theatre and online commerce was thought to clobber the brick and mortar. No doubt technology will dissolve some industries, but one’s we have not heard of yet will rise. Great discussion post. Thank you.


  6. Maybe the college kids of the future will be able to get degrees in IT or robotics to help service and develop these robots and automated systems. I think definitely some careers will become obsolete but there will be new ones to replace them. People starting out in work will just have to adapt and acquire new skills.


    1. Absolutely friend. I thinks it could be a real exciting time for the youth. They just need to be educated.. where that comes from is the challenging part. Thanks so much for stopping by.


  7. I am glad to see that there are some that do not have such a bleak view of the economy as I have come to hold. In the 6 decades I have been on this plane of existence I have seen thing head slowly but surly downhill. My dad could nicely support a family of 5 all by himself on his job he got with a 2 year drafting degree from wentworth. Now 2 parents with 4 year degrees must both work and by now one of them is laid off. I had many friends with engineering degrees out of work a year or more. One is still out of work. I see the economy going up and down over my life but each high is lower than the last and each low also lower. It seems like a sine wave going downhill. I wonder when or if the trend will end and what will change it if it is changed. I wish I had a crystal ball to see the eventual result. Will there be revolt or will other factors just suddenly create many more wonderful jobs and affluence for the majority of people. Currently people are either un employed or UNDER employed. People lose a really nice job and the next job is not nearly as good. Education helps but countries like China and India are using education along with technology to take jobs that can now be done from anywhere for dimes on a dollar. How do you compete with this even with a degree. As I say I have seen many friends with degrees lose their job and if they manage to get back into an engineering job, it pays less the 2nd time around. This is all personal observation over the past 5 to 10 years. I honestly have no idea where this is really going to go. I may have another 2 or 3 decades to watch and see if I am lucky. The trend I see is not impressive however.


  8. Nimbus- When you write, “I am glad to see that there are some that do not have such a bleak view of the economy as I have come to hold”…you are most likely write. The “youthful” people here ( myself included) , don’t fully grasp how “good” it once was. I remember the Clinton years (which supposedly was the best economy we had in my time.) When Bush entered office, he actually had a surplus! (Sure, he gave it all away to his rich buddies, but that is besides the point.) Four years ago, people really wanted CHANGE… change certainly isn’t the same as progress.
    How do we make today’s students “job ready” for tomorrow’s workflow processes? Because it’s ever changing. How should companies mature and evolve current job roles to adapt to future technology in the workplace? If rich, smart, surgical doctors that work 100 hours a week can learn, get trained and work WITH robots..http://shar.es/lXVEr …is there any reason why other industries wouldn’t prosper and co -exist w them too?

    On a side note: Spains unemployment rate has reached 20%


  9. Nimbus- When you said “Would we willingly force ourselves to go backwards in how we do things if it meant having work and affluence for many more people and not just a few? Can we really even do this even if we want to?”… I think it is an absolute necessity for all of us to move forward with what “we have” in place now ( whether it is viewed as less or worse) …rather than moving back to something better, even if moving back was only a few steps.

    If we were in the dessert and we only had 1 bottle of water. We have already walked half way between Point A (a water well) and Point B ( our ultimate goal)…we could go back the exact same distance we just walked for an unlimited supply of water, hydrate and return to walking the same path or conserve the small amount of water we have now, walk the same distance to a more utopian society… I think most people would choose choice B.

    But, the problem for everyone might be that there is no reward. It’s a dream. That after really bad things happen, that’s it. That the good things aren’t coming. When I was a kid and horrible music was being played on the radio, MTV or locally…I always told myself…”well, that just means that a really kick ass band is going to come out soon and blow everyone away..That every ten years at least one good band will come out.”…(Well, I am still waiting.) What a really novice way to present or share to anyone how to predict the future. Just count to “ten”..and everything will be ok. This time it’s not working. And I don’t think anyone can afford to count to ten or to ten presidential terms for that matter.


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