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June 25, 2019

Information Technology

Will robots take my job? The future of automation.

Robot sitting on desk

There are dozens of action and horror films all focused on artificial intelligence, and what happens when robots take over. While this makes for great entertainment, some people take this idea to heart and are terrified of robots taking over their work.

This slight panic by some mirrors what we know from history; when electricity was discovered and mass produced, everyone worried about candlestick makers. When cars became popular, carriage makers were worried they would be out in the cold.

Technology advancements do sometimes mean that certain jobs become less needed over time, but that doesn’t mean entire industries are just out of luck. In fact, research shows that automation doesn’t reduce the number of jobs available, and it can even add more jobs to the workforce.

Many of these jobs are in the information technology industries. If you’re considering going into IT, now is an ideal time to get the education you need to pursue that career. AI and tech advancements are only going to keep moving forward. As new technology is created, more jobs are needed. Having an IT degree will mean you’re ready to be part of these advancements and can feel secure in your future.

Currently many of these new exciting AI advancements haven’t trickled into everyday life. For example, self-driving cars are an exciting and developing technology, but you can’t buy one and likely won’t be able to anytime soon. If being involved in these current developments sounds exciting to you, it could be the perfect time to get an IT degree and move into a field where you’d be on the cusp of all the technology advances ahead.

With new technology, some jobs eventually do become less necessary (there aren’t many carriage makers today). But change is the only constant in the world. And ultimately, technology advancements of the past and present are hugely beneficial for society.

Jobs lost to automation.

It’s true that over time, there will be some jobs that are lost to automation. These job losses will happen slowly so you shouldn’t expect to be out of the workforce tomorrow. And in the past, as future automation slowly takes over tasks, workers are able to transfer their skills easily to other industries or lines of work.

Travel agent.

With online and digital options, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the number of travel agents will decline by 11% by 2024. Many people already use online apps and websites to help them plan their entire trips, and as AI continues to get smarter, people will be able to explain exactly what kind of vacation they are looking for, and the machine can factor in all the variables.

Assembly line work.

With increased robotics tools and programs, there are already 5 million fewer manufacturing jobs today than there were in 2019. Experts expect this number will continue to decline as more robotics inventions are put into factories around the world. Humans will still be needed to run and operate these machines, but actual assembly work is likely to decline.

Factory automation

Customer service.

You may already be familiar with the bots that you often deal with as part of customer service interactions. As AI continues to get more advanced, these customer interactions will be more sophisticated and prevalent. A new report says that customer service and customer interaction jobs could decrease by 20% in the next decade.

Medical lab workers.

While future automation will likely never take the place of doctors, there are some medical tasks that could be automated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there is likely to be a 14% decrease in medical lab workers by the year 2024. From running lab tests to helping diagnose patients and do research, automated programs can help increase accuracy and consistency in the medical field.

Postal workers.

Postal workers are likely to be hit the hardest when it comes to automation takeover. The BLS expects there to be a 38% drop in postal workers by 2024. Increased robotics advancements allow for sorting, packaging, and delivery to be automated, and less human interaction is needed.

Why you shouldn't be afraid of robots taking your job.

While there are skills that will be less needed thanks to technology, future automation will create many jobs and won’t touch many industries. If you’re hoping to make sure your job and career is safe from automation, there are some industries you can begin going to school for and be prepared.

Nervous about a potential career change? We have a whole guide on how to navigate this process. WGU makes career changing easy with a complete flexible, online education. You can continue to work at your current place while getting your degree and preparing for a new career. Our competency-based education means that you can move quickly through material once you understand it.

You don’t need to be afraid of robots taking your tasks anytime soon, and especially if you work in industries that are extremely hard to automate.

 

Teacher in front of class

Jobs safe from automation.

Teachers.

No matter how advanced machines get, we will always need teachers to manage classrooms, provide kindness and empathy for children, and go in-depth when students don’t understand the concepts. There isn’t a machine that can offer students the same attention that people can.

Even at schools like WGU that are online, there are faculty members and Program Mentors to provide the crucial human interaction you need every step of the way. Tools like computers and other technical advancements are a huge help to teachers as they work to provide better learning opportunities for students. But teachers will never be able to be replaced by robots.

If you’re interested in getting into teaching, WGU is a great option. Flexible, completely online, and competency based education means that you can get into a teaching career pain-free.

Nurses.

Automation will continue to bring help and advancement to the medical field, but nurses and doctors will likely never be able to be completely replaced by machines. The way that nurses connect with patients, offer them comfort and support, and make them feel understood is vital to patient satisfaction.

You have the option to utilize WGU to become a nurse and further your career in an industry that will stand the test of time. Our rigorous coursework will ensure that you’re ready to work in the nursing field, prepared for all the things that are likely to come your way.

Man cutting hair

Hairdressers.

While automation is impacting many industries that are directly related to customer service, hair stylists and makeup artists are not among that group. These kinds of jobs require the human eye to be done right. Software and machines that have been created to try to do this work have largely failed, meaning that hairdressers are likely safe from automation fears.

Social workers and therapists.

Jobs that revolve around helping people and working with their mental health and mind will likely never be replaced by automation. People need that human interaction and understanding to benefit from these services. Social workers and therapists are highly trained to have the empathy and listening abilities that robots will never be able to acquire. Because of this, these jobs will never be a good fit for automation.

 

While artificial intelligence, machine learning, and new technology may be a little overwhelming, you really don’t need to worry that the robots are going to take over. There are many industries that will benefit, especially IT. The IT college at WGU can help you be prepared for the explosion of jobs and opportunities that will come to IT professionals as automation continues to grow. There will be a high demand for people to program robots, develop new software and security systems, and more. WGU can help you get an IT degree and get in on the action. And if you’re in an industry that could be getting less valuable, or if you’re wanting to get into an industry that will likely never become automated, WGU can help!

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