It is a good thing that technology has gained momentum in terms of Artificial intelligence and robotics, but at the same time has definitely raised a concern among professionals about their job uncertainty. According to the 2013 Oxford study, in the next 20 years, 47% of jobs are predicted to be at higher risk which means there is a need to embrace the upcoming changes and adapt to the newer technologies that are required for the new set of job roles.Computers have already taken up many routine information processing jobs that were previously restricted to only humans, and are successful in handling them much faster, increasing the overall productivity. Today, we have come across robots with advanced technology are even able to manage non-routine manual tasks that needs cognitive thinking. As the technology is moving towards automation, many professionals in IT and other fields are becoming more worried about their jobs, thinking that they might lose it to man-made machines.
Many job roles get redefined Instead of getting replaced, many job roles are likely to get redefined as people in higher positions will be focusing on work that produces higher value than doing the routine kind of activities. Only a percentage fraction of their job activities or tasks get automated, leaving the significant portion that requires human experience and creative capability to handle it. Managers and people in other higher positions, get the opportunity to focus more on strategic & creative thinking leaving some parts of the regular tasks like planning & scheduling, development & optimization to the machines. Clearly, this is the right time for the people to show their capabilities, as it requires different mind-set to work with the automated process rather than managing limited skilled manual workers.
Low to Mid level jobs are more at risk
Many experts are citing that jobs at lower to mid level which constitute larger portion of the global workforce are at higher risk because they do not depend much on cognitive skills. It is not a complete threat to these jobs but to some extent, few of them will be replaced by the machines, simultaneously some new opportunities will be created with new or refined tasks. However, in many cases, the new alternatives created will not be exactly same as the old ones, which leaves many of these workers jobless if they don’t have required abilities. Those who are rigid with their skill set, unwilling to change to newer technologies will find it difficult to survive at this time. The good thing is, computers will not take up the jobs that require social skills, as these machines are not really good at motivating and negotiating with people. So, for now wherever human interaction is required, those tasks still remain with people.
Is it affecting the middle class workforce?
As the technology continues to unfold, even the traditional skilled labor are skeptical whether they can retain their jobs for long term in this transition. To some extent, we can say it is affecting the middle class workforce who basically depend on routine kind of work for their livelihood such as bookkeeping, clerical jobs, admin and finance etc. The traditional middle class jobs have drastically disappeared while the demand for low level service jobs such as restaurant workers, janitors, helpers etc as well as high paying elite opportunities have raised. So, for them the only escape from unemployment is either to go for low skilled service sector jobs or opt for high level professional careers by adapting to newer technologies with education as a key factor.