18. January 2015 Fabian

22 Jobs disappearing in near future

It is usual that jobs are disappearing. We do not have any need for knights, stock traders, deathsman or cashiers. Jobs were created (programmer, consultants, investment bankers). However there is a new wave of employments, which seem to disappear in the next 20 years: truck drivers, pilots, soldiers, cooks, lawyers, journalists and many more.

Technology makes work more productive

From an historical perspective, is common that jobs are created and replaced during economic and social change. Happily we do not need slave traders anymore. There are no job openings for charburner or hangman.

Only a few centuries ago, 85 % of Europeans were working in agriculture. Today it is less than 2 %.

Once disappeared jobs do not return

You might think, that it does not hit you one day. Even highly qualified stock traders are replaced by bots, which trade our stock, FX or bonds.

Only a few years ago you walked to a travel agent to book your flight, hotel or rental car. Today you do it online with Trivago or Kayak.

In the middle of the 70s we reached the climax of the industrial revolution (measurement: jobs). Since then we all know, that a job in heady industry does not have the greated perspective here in western Europe.

industry jobs are losing
Brad Arnold (2015)

You still go to the bank to get cash from a cashier, or do you use the ATM? One job less which is needed and will disappear.

We have special times. In my opinion our imagined future arrives earlier than many expect. That means jobs will be faster replaced by advanced robotics, artificial intelligence and automated bots, than we think. It has nothing do with humans. It lays in the nature of capitalism, to go for the cheaper, faster and most reliable solution.

Here is my list of 22 jobs, which may not exit anymore in 20 years. And even the jobs will still exist, less people will be needed to execute it.

Cab and truck drivers

Daimler is developing a self-driving truck. Google hat a self-driving car.

And Uber is planning to replace his fleet one day with self driving cars. Sure, it will take some time until we sit in cars, which bring us from A to B without our help. However I am convinced that we will see trucks on our road by 2020, which are driving on autopilot.

Journalists

People read less and less printed newspapers. Decades ago Axel Springer hat an EBIT margin of 50 %. Today it is more likely close to 5 %.

Why do we need humans to rewrite news from DPA and Reuters? In near future 90 % of articles will be written by Bots. Already now, there are several new articles published by learning algorithms. You do not believe me?

For sure there will be jobs for investigative journalists. However less than today. I assume that is the reason, why newspaper do not openly report about this topic. I can understand that.

Bank clerks

Banks are under fire. Latest since the financial crisis most people have understood, that modern banks are not concerned about the will being of society. Therefore their whole chain of economic value added is under pressure. Corporate finances. Wealth management. Loans. Asset management. Money transfers.

german fintech startups
Bajoart (2013)

Pilots

For sure no one will fly with a plane, which does not have a human pilot. However packages do not care.  Already now we see flying drones, which are steered or even automated. It is only a matter of time, when the first cargo planes are starting and landing without human help in the cockpit.

Train conductors

Looking forward to the day, when there are no strikes in public transportation? In Nürnberg subways are already driverless. The same goes on in Paris, London and Barcelona.

Warehouseman

Amazon runs fully automated distribution centers. No humans needed.

Have a look at Kiva Systems:

Wallmart, Coca Cola, Netfliex, Ikea. They all run fully automated distribution centers.

Saleswomen & salesmen

Self checkout at Ikea.

Giant Foods.

Target.

Currently these machines are not perfect, but it will change. And what will happen, when Wallmart starts to replaces its 2.200.000 workers?

Soldies

Less and less people die in wars. Something great.

less people die at war

WSJ (2011)

Germany had one an army of 15 Million soldiers. Today there are less than 200.000. Why do we still needs soldiers? Americans are showing us pretty well, how to “play” war with missiles and drones.

And everyone knowing Boston Dynamics (bought by Google – what are they up to?), is aware of future robots.

To be honest, these videos scare me.

Construction workers

Already today you can order a 3D printed home. Or you receive a new house within two days:

Mail carrier

Have a look at this great TED talk by Andreas Raptopoulos. You will understand.

Security guards

Who enjoys to run around at dark backyards for 6 € an hour? Innovations like the K5 from Knightscope may change that.

Translators

Skype instant translation and Microsoft. That could be enough one day.

Call center agents

Do you know the video, where IBM Watson beats the best humans at Jeopardy?

If machines already understand meaning and can combine knowledge. Why should that not be possible at tele sales?

Support agents

The same as in tele sales. Most questions for support are standardized. There is a Berlin startup working with semantic deep machine learning to read and understand support emails. The software can answers most emails and only forward the difficult ones to human employees.

Lawyers

A Berlin based Startup offers instand legal consulting based on artificial intelligence. Rocket Laywer and Legal Zoom help you to create any kind of documents within one click. There will be always need for a lawyer as long as humans fight, however hopefully we need less than today.

Garbage collection

In Barcelona garbage collection is already automated:

Cooks

I do not say that we do not need cooks anymore. However there are already 3D printers for food. Imagine you come home, starving and tired. You just press a button and fresh food is printed for you. Does not sound sexy, but still fills your stomach.

Or you are in a restaurant, order food with a tablet and a robot delivers it:

There is still room for improvement:

Pharmacies

Germans have several kind of vending machines: for drinks, sweets and cigarettes. In other countries there are vending machines for pizza, french fries, fruits and ice cream. Why not ordering your Aspiring at a machine 24/7 too?

Gardening work

Niwa, Bitponics und Urban Cultivator  – they all help to grow fresh vegetables indoor. I am sure that works on a larger scale too.

Libarian

Does not have an intellectual flair but serves its purpose:

Cleaning services

Well, just have a look:

Assistans

The Berlin based Startup Desendo works at a virtual AI based assistant.

What will happen with all these people?

I could go on with this list. It is scary. Just imagine following for the USA:  4.5 million sales people, 3.3 million cashiers, 3 million service workers, 2.4 million waiters, 2.4 million working in customer services, 2 million janitors. What will happen, when these 18 million jobs are not needed anymore?

Why are we still educating young peoples for jobs, which maybe will not exist when they finish school?

During the industrial revolution we had mass poverty and mass unemployment. Will we face these times again?

I ask the question, how politics and education are reacting. Progress can’t be stopped, therefore we need to be prepared.

If this article is not enough, then enjoy these 15 minutes. Humans need not apply.

Hier geht es zur deutschen Version des Artikels.

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