Wednesday, 15 February 2017

How Emerging Technology will Shrink Jobs in 12 Sectors - 2017

The World Economic Forum 2016 at Davos earlier this year warned that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway and that it may eliminate millions of jobs over the next five to 10 years. A Bank of America-Merrill Lynch report too had earlier predicted that 47% of jobs in the US will be taken over by technology.

  • Telesales/call centre employees
Amelia, an artificial call centre agent, can speak 20 languages, learn from her human co workers and has taken over 30% of the calls at a trial call centre. McKinsey estimates that by 2025, similar automated software will replace 250 million knowledge workers across the world. That's equivalent to 50% of India's current working population.

  • Software tester

Agile technology or rapidly developing and deploying working software is the focus of technology firms. This means that, developers are required to do unit testing, use QA automation tools and write their own testing code without wasting time in the QA process. This has made many QA engineers redundant and some firms predict that by as early as 2017 they will not hire or retain a single QA employee.

  • Farmers
Increased mechanisation and farm productivity has led to less than 2% of the US population being directly employed in agriculture. In India, it is currently 50% of the population. With land, machinery, chemicals and seeds becoming expensive and technology providing cost-effective labour solutions, the days of the individual farmer are numbered. Wealthy landowners and corporations will take over this sector while reducing employment dramatically.

  • Factory workers
In Japan there are over 1,500 robots for every 10,000 workers in the automobile manufacturing industry. They are faster, better and becoming increasingly cheaper. The trend is accelerating across global manufacturing and production, taking away the livelihood of factory workers.

  • News reporters
Associated Press already publishes over 3,000 financial reports every quarter using Wordsmith—the natural language reporting platform. 8.5% of Wikipedia's total content has been written by bots. With advertising revenues dropping sharply for news agencies and print media, they can scarcely afford to keep hordes of reporters to track breaking news. Efficient software is up to the task. This means fewer human news reporters and they will be writing more opinion pieces than news.

  • Teachers
With online college classes and degrees, the Internet is eliminating the need to go to college to pursue higher education. Similarly, supplementary education like tuition and coaching is being replaced by apps and online classes. Apart from primary education and schools, this reduces both the salary and the number of teachers required.

  • Health workers
The IBM cognitive computing prototype, Watson, is set to revolutionise medical diagnosis with a projected ability to give accurate, consistent, free diagnosis of medical conditions. Add to that -smart phones coupled with remote electronic health monitoring devices and computerised medical history, and fewer health care professionals will be required as most patients will avail of treatment remotely.

  • Lawyers and paralegals
The largest chunk of legal work is the discovery phase where paralegals and junior lawyers have to go through physical records to gather and synthesize information and draft legal documents before a trial. Software like Legal-Zoom, that performs the task, is dramatically reducing the number of jobs.

  • Accountants
Accounting software for businesses is becoming easier to use. Small businesses are migrating to do-it-yourself solutions like Freshbooks, requiring fewer hours of work by human accountants. While they are automating and reducing wage bills, demand for professional accountants will decline significantly in the next 10 years.

  • Drivers
Driverless cars have been successfully demonstrated on public roads in the US over the past few years. Regulations are being crafted that will permit you to call for a driverless taxi through an app or transport goods by driverless trucks. Fewer accidents, faster travel and no jobs for drivers.

  • Cashiers
In supermarkets and large stores, thousands of cashiers are being replaced by automated self-checkout systems which bill you based on the items in your cart using RFID chips or automated scanners. You can swipe your card or scan your digital wallet on your way out. No queues and no jobs for human cashiers.

  • Hospitality workers
The Henn-na hotel in Nagasaki is the world's first hotel to have only robot staff. Restaurants across the world are experimenting with touch screens at tables for ordering food, robotic waiters/self-service to pick it up and automated systems to perfectly cook fast food. The hospitality segment, which employs up to 5% of the workforce is set to shed millions of jobs.


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