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.


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)


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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:


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:


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.


Does not have an intellectual flair but serves its purpose:

Cleaning services

Well, just have a look:


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.

Thanks to technology you can be lazy and rich

Present time is pretty wonderful. Last week I held a speech at the birthday party of my grandmother. She turned 85. My speech was about the change of the last 85 years. The change for our nation. Our people. For past and current generations of humans living in western countries. Did you know that women in Germany were not allowed to work without the permission of their husband until 1977? And did you know, that Germany (and most of other european countries, I guess) have the longest period of peace since ever? 70 years without war on German soil. That never happened before. And I am pretty thankful for that.

The main point is, life got really better over the last decades. We have more free time. We work less (Work is easier than ever). We live longer. We are healthier. We earn more money. And we can buy more than we ever wanted.

We have the longest lifetime for the last 15.000 years

Living a long lifeSource

200 years ago, most people died at the 30 years of age on average. 30 years! If you are older, you maybe wouldn’t live anymore. One of the main reasons for early death were infections. A small fever could kill you. I am thankful for (re)discovery of antibiotics.

A short side notice: until 15.000 b.c. humans were hunters & gatherers. In contrast to common perception our ancestors did not die young. Newest research assume that your early tribal forefathers lived for 60 to 70 years, if they did not die from an unnatural cause. I guess the right food (no extra sugar, no extra fat, no supplement, no gen modification), enough sex, no arguments about property, physical activities and social contacts are ingredients for a long lasting life.

And today? Children born in this decade have the possibility to live for 100 years. We just needed 15.000 years to reach this level – again.

We die later than we used to

There are two reasons people die. First, they get sick. The better the health system is, the less people die from a minor infection. Second, we get killed. By accidents, cars or people.

There are several reasons that we get killed less often. Crime rate is not really an key issue anymore (also thanks to AI) for personal safety. Just compare your life to countries like Somalia, Mexiko or downtown Los Angeles – where you get shot just for your skin color or expensive looking shoes.  I am glad, that I can walk everywhere I want in Berlin and still feel safe most of time.

Thanks to insurances and our legal system, we even do not fear accidents anymore (accident insurance), poverty among the elderly (pension fonds), children (child allowance), layoffs (unemployment insurance) and sickness (health insurance).

We have less environmental pollution.


Did you know, that we used lead pipes for water transport? Or imagine the times, when there was heavy industry in your city (steel, chemistry, coal). Conveniently we outsourced the dirty businesses to China, Russia and Brasil.

Additionally we have access to any kind of foods for every wanted diet. You can buy fresh fruits all the year round. You have a fridge and freezer to save them for a longer period. We do not need to eat potato soup every day of the year anymore.

We are richer than ever

The more money people have in their pockets, the less the needs to steel, rob or kill are. Social stability helps everyone to live longer and less stressful.

Growth of income

Maybe you do not feel it, but we all have more money than before. 1930 the average monthly earning in Germany was 300 €. Today we have 2.800 € to spend on average. Everyone earns more.


There are always the greedy ones, who get more than they should. As there was always a king, a pope and aristocracy. Every system brings economic inequality. That is why it is important to share a bit of our wealth to prevent a class of working poor – as we europeans already do compared to our friends in the USA.

You work less and still have a better job

As I have stated, you earn better. Why? Because you work harder? I guess not. 1870 the average working time in western countries was 72 hours per week. Today we have a 35 hour week in France. And people still earn more than in 1870. Why? We are better educated. We adapt to change. We use technology.

Only 300 years ago 85 % of people worked as farmers. I tell you, growing up on the countryside, that was really tough work. You had to sleep with the animals in a room. You had to work outside every day. Physical work. Hard work. Exhausting work.

no farmers anymoresource

Today less than 1,5 % of our workforce are farmers. Most people have pretty easy jobs: traveling, sitting in a air-conditioned office, having a company credit card, bonus payment and intellectual challenging tasks.

We won lots of free time in the last decades. While earning more. While living safer and healthier.

You can buy more

Life today is better than kings lived 150 years ago.

Today the bottom 99 % have more than the top 1 % used to have.

We have internet, a fridge, supermarkets, cars, planes, cell phones, computers, electricity and flushing toilettes.

The iPhone in your pocket has more processing power than 90’s computers. And you do not need to pay millions $ for it.

Looking forward to future

Accelerating growth in technologysource

I am excited to look forward to our future. Improvement is accelerating. That means there are some surprises to be expected. Hopefully the future brings us a long life in health and abundance (mobility, security, family, entertainment, food, etc).

Hier geht es zur Deutschen Version dieses Artikels.

Present Age Is The Greatest Time We Humans Live In

We humans live in a special time. We are on the verge of a big change and few of us have already realized it. Why is our time special? Life is cheaper, easier and more convenient than only 50 years ago. And there is no reason why this progress should stop soon. Our living generations are richer and have better lives than any human before us. We have access to unlimited information, free communication and can buy almost anything we want.

More people on earth with limited resources

As you can see in the chart, our population is growing accelerating. There are more consumers, more markets, more brain power, more people on earth with the same limited resources. That opens many opportunities and challenges. In the last 300 years we grew from 500 million habitats to 7.300.000.000 today.

Growth World PopulationSource

We are richer than ever

Our income per head (GDP per capita) increased constantly. Have a look at the USA. We are becoming richer day by day. The poorest people of present age can have a better life than a king a few hundred years ago in terms of living conditions. Just imagine that everyone could have access to running water, electricity, public transporation, a house, a fridge or fresh vegetables. What once was luxury is today a commodity.

Growth of income

Quality of life improved for everyone

That means even we are more people on the world, we all have a better life than our ancestors. I am thankful for that. Have you ever thought how life was before our time? In 1900 there were no computers and almost no cars. In 1800 there was no antibiotic. In 1700 no humans rights or constitution. In 1600 no freedom to chose your own religion. In 1500 most could not read. In 1400 there were still water pipes with lead. This list could go on forever.

I want to express, that a lot of lives improved. Not only for the top 1 %, but also for the other 99 %. We just do not see it that way. In the 16th century, 80 % of the population where farmers. Today there are less than 2 % of us in the agricultural business. Who wants to be back on the fields, cutting corn with his hands during summer time and sleep with 10 people in one room?

Technology made life better

Let’s talk about technology. How did technological improvement help us?

Today a smartphone (I take a iPhone 6) replaces many things on your desk: typewriter, paper, pen, fax machine, scanner, computer, stamps, envelopes, modem, cables, trash, desk lamp, paper weight, ink pot, telephone and a lot more.
And think about the computing power of your device. In the 90s your would have to pay millions $ for that kind of electronic device.

Communication and information are for free

And there are many other benefits of present age we often do not appreciate.

Communication is almost for free and awesome fast. 200 years ago you had to send a letter, wait for weeks for a response – if it every arrived. Then there was the morse code.

Have you every tried to tell your wife, that you are late for dinner with morse?

And do you still remember the time, when there was only one telephone in each home. You mum had to yell, that a friend was on the line and you should come down. Today we have skype and can call everyone everywhere for free. I still remember the times, when I paid 3 $ per minute to call family in the USA from Europe. And do you remember to leave a voicemail in the 90s and waiting someone to call you back instead of texting? Today we have whatsapp, telegram, iMessage and FB messenger. Instead of collecting mail addresses and sending letters once a while, we just check their Facebook status. We save a lot of time, money and still stay up to date.

Information are free. Really. That is such a great thing. I still remember the time when my parents had to buy a Brockhaus, because I was always asking so many questions.


Today I love to spend hours on wikipedia and learn so much. For free. And everyone else can access this great knowledge too. For free. And thanks to Google, Youtube and twitter we have news in real-time. And that is free too.

No need to wait for the newspaper anymore, which is old in the moment it arrives.

Consuming goods are also cheaper than ever. Today you can compare any price at any time. You just go in a store and check the price online. If the store is too expensive you order with Amazon prime and receive the good the next morning. Before you spend too much money on a car, fridge or smartphone you compare prices. It is way harder to sell you a bad product, when you read reviews beforehand. Cheating customers with bad services and too high prices becomes almost impossible. At the end we, customers win. Quality wins. Transparency wins.

Transportation became better too. Would you fly with planes of the 30’s over the ocean? Or imagine cars of the 1970’s. They were always broken and needed over 20 liters fuel for 100 km. There was no air conditioner, no power-assisted steering, no Bluetooth, no navigation system, no seat heating and no electric window lift.

We had to crank a the window for minutes each time we wanted fresh air.

Are you still going to a travel agent to book a flight ticket and a hotel? Do you still go to blockbuster and rent a video cassette? And do you still dictate letters to your typist?

Progress will not be slower – it will be faster

Have a look at the chart and you see, that many improvements happened in the last 50 years. Within one generation our lives improved a lot. And that improvement will continue to accelerate.

Accelerating growth in technologysource

Now I wish you all happy holidays. We are living in the greatest time of human existance and life will hopefully become even better.


The Washington Post writes following: Common folk live better now than royalty did in earlier times

Hier geht es zur deutschen Version dieses Artikels.

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