Submitted by Don Doman
I just gave a presentation for “Career Day” at a local elementary school sixth grade class. Just thinking about the future these days is kind of scary, but I kept that to myself. I think prospects are not all that bright for these young people who will be entering the job force in 2027.
When I went to college one of the first classes I took was “Business Machines.” Within only a few years, each of those machines was obsolete. I think I saw one recently on an episode of Pawn Stars being sold as an antique. That was sobering, but it was reality. Computers are both a bane and a boone.
I already knew about the IBM program called “Watson,” which was designed to help nurses and doctors diagnose illness problems of patients. I also saw a prediction that it would reduce the amount of attorneys need for law offices with its legal applications. Then after the first of the year I saw that H & R Block was using it for income tax preparation. Last week I saw a commercial during the NBA playoffs with “Watson” giving advice on basketball. It sounds like this one program could not only wipe out the need for millions of jobs, but also hold court at local bars and win bet after bet.
Give computers legs and have even more concerns. In a May 19th online article writer Chris Isidore said, “Between 6 million to 7.5 million existing jobs are at risk of being replaced over the course of the next 10 years by some form of automation, according to a new study this week from by financial services firm Cornerstone Capital Group.” — “Robots could wipe out another 6 million retail jobs”
The current retail work force is only 16 million workers, so those predicted jobs lost represent 38%. By now everyone has to realize that manufacturing jobs are not coming back, and even if they did they would be run by robots.
Last week I showed a magazine ad to my wife. I was suggesting she buy me a 3-D printer for Father’s Day. She just looked at me. “It’s only $60,” I said. They used to cost thousands and thousands of dollars and now I can get one for only $60. But, no. I was wrong. I did a search on Google and came up with a 2017 TRONXY X3A High Precision 3D Printer for only $16.80 with free shipping. These printers can only print small items, but with them you could create objects that before you would have purchased at your local hardware store. Goodbye to more retail sales jobs.
Each new innovation . . . each new application wipes out workers in various categories. I see this in my own video production/digital marketing niche. Marketing firms used to prepare special slide shows to make sales, illustrate new products, and new projects. With “PowerPoint” virtually anyone can put together a digital slide presentation. With cellphones taking pictures and shooting video, everyone thinks they are a photographer or a videographer. They aren’t but, so what?
I’ve adjusted by putting my own twist on PR, marketing, and video production. Be thinking about your own job, industry, and future. Don’t show fear.
The advice I gave to the students was: Embrace change . . . read, read, read . . . be creative . . . and always ask “why” and “why not.”