Introduction : How Technology Is Destroying Jobs
Technology is generally associated with creating new economic opportunities and general prosperity of humanity. But as we progress further into the 21st Century we find that industrial automation is a looming threat that is destroying the livelihoods of people across the world.
As we advance into an age where robots are common place and almost entire industries are moving away from using manual labour to much cheaper and efficient automated services, we find that a huge number of people who depended upon these seemingly menial jobs for their livelihoods are having their jobs destroyed right in front of their eyes.
Part-time jobs that generally used to be minimum wage and a great way for college or high school students to earn a few bucks are the first ones on the chopping blocks. But serious professions like construction work and related engineering jobs as well as tech jobs are also on the line.
How Technology Is Destroying Jobs
While it is undoubtable that without the help of technology we could never have achieved such massive economic and social growth, the time has come when machines instead of helping man are threatening the very existence of their creator. However blaming it all on technology is not justified as the only reason industries are replacing humans with machines is to maximise profit margins.
Automation in Part Time Jobs
Over the years, the common man doing minimum wage jobs as a waiter or as a server in large fast food chains, drive-thrus and even retail markets has had their salary stay almost the same while inflation has led to a higher cost of living. Often, this has led to tensions flaring between the owners and the workers as people have clamoured for better wages and facilities
However, now a larger threat approaches them as they might soon be wiped out entirely their job taken over by an automated machine that neither sleeps nor demands higher wages or better working conditions.
Robots are taking Over Engineering Jobs
Most large factories now run on assembly lines which depend on a team of workers to each do their own part in creating a much larger finished product. Now, bit by bit, all of these unskilled labour positions are being taken up by robots which can work through the clock and doesn’t need holidays or breaks.
Companies try to appease end users by saying that moving to an automated production line vastly eliminates quality issues but the reality is that the number of unskilled labourers who have been rendered unemployed by the boom in robotics continues to grow larger by the day.
Worker Unions in the past held a massive clout and could organise protests and stall the production till the owners were forced to take action. But with the advent of industrial automation has made everyone replaceable and handed the power right back to the owners of corporations who believe in nothing but profit margins.
Tech Jobs and even Skilled Jobs Are Also Not Safe
With the staggering growth of Neural networks, in the recent future, all forms of repetitive tasks in the information technology industry that are software based can be handled by robots with ease. This is the scariest thought of all as information technology– the field which gave rise to automation is starting to now cannibalise their own human workforce.
As robots get smarter and AIs start to mimic the brain, the inevitable truth is that robots and technology will be better at doing the jobs than humans are. The time is now and we must take decisive steps to protect humanity from itself as well as what technology can create.
So how does humanity survive? Well in such a society if it ever comes to fruition should have universal basic income. And humans can spend their times creatively instead of doing menial jobs that end up being a means to an end.
How close are we to such a dystopian future? Well in the words of one of the greatest minds of our generation Elon Musk
“The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. Unless you have direct exposure to groups like Deepmind, you have no idea how fast—it is growing at a pace close to exponential. The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year timeframe. 10 years at most.”