“Not all problems have a technological answer, but when they do, that is the more lasting solution.”
– Andrew Grove
The role of technology is to add accuracy and efficiency to something, while alleviating the efforts required by humans.
Think about how much more enjoyable life has been since the advent of wireless communication, medical breakthroughs and machine automation.
Yet every time a new innovation emerges, an important question arises: “Will this put someone out of a job?”
Certain industries are undoubtedly facing changes, like newspapers and brick-and-mortar retailers.
Others may not be as obvious.
Consider some of the industries that require significant human creativity and thoughtfulness, like journalism .
Recent innovations show that a job as detailed and complicated as writing can potentially be performed by technology.
Furthermore, consider an area like sales that is completely customer-facing and involves communication, negotiation and detailed explanations.
Can this become unnecessary? For my sake, I hope not.
Although, if you can create an environment where a customer is well-informed and educated about your product/service, paired with a user-experience and design that yields a simplistic buying process, it may be possible.
So ask yourself: could emerging technology innovate your position out of existence?
My prediction is: probably.
To dig into this question at a higher view, some general questions you should ask yourself include:
– Can any part of your role be automated by machine learning or manufacturing?
– Are your products/services targeted to customers of a diminishing population?
If the technology in your field allows consumer prices to go down, faster fulfillment processes and better customer experiences, should innovation replace humans?
According to a recent Business Insider article, people are speculating that the following twelve jobs may be replaced by technology in the near future:
- Loan officers
- Receptionists/information clerks
- Paralegals & legal assistants
- Retail salespersons
- Taxi cab drivers & chauffeurs
- Security guards
- Fast food cooks
- Personal financial advisors
- Reporters and correspondents
- Musicians & singers
At a philosophical level, you may be forced to ask yourself if your industry or job really should exist in 5 years.
If the answer is anything other than an emphatic ‘YES,’ then it probably will not be around for too much longer.