Thinking back to the arrival of Amazon and its recommendation engine, it’s easy to see that the ability for systems to look at vast arrays of data and make decisions and take action was inevitable. What has surprised many people is the way big data has been exploited by an almost infinite pool of computing power delivered by the cloud. And that (r?)evolution means many jobs that exist today will ether disappear or substantially change.
Work+Money spoke with John Pugliano. He’s the author of “The Robots are Coming: A Human’s Survival Guide to Profiting in the Age of Automation”. He said any job that can be defined in an equation is a candidate for the digital chopping block.
Some of those changes are obvious. The proliferation of flight and accomodation engines that seek out the best deals mean that travel agents are seeing their jobs change. And even though some of those aggregation sites, such as Trivago have landed in hot water of questionable practices, the process of searching and finding the cheapest fares and tariffs has been automated.
On the upside, finding hard-to-automate niches such as inside knowledge on specific destinations or specialising in travel for specific age or cultural groups could remain an important skill.
The same sort of logic applies to mortgage brokers, financial planners, IT system admins and other roles where large amounts of the work can be automated.
Alongside the shift to automation comes another trend; the ease with which we can replace items that are broken. A number of skilled jobs, such a repairing furniture, will disappear as people throw away their broken goods and buy anew.
One of the interesting shifts will be detective work, As more security cameras and other surveillance equipment makes its way into our public spaces, homes and offices, the role of investigators will change as cameras and software will identify and track people and send alerts when something illegal is suspected.
When you think about your own job – how much of it is repetitive and could be done by a machine? Will your job still exist in a decade? If it won’t or it will change significantly, are you planning for the transition?