The recent strides that have been made in the field of automation are opening the door for these machines to eventually take over most of the jobs that we see in the world today. The advancement of robotics over the past few decades has already lead to a number of these jobs vanishing, and businesses are thriving in part because of this. Think about the last time you went to the grocery store, how did you check out? Odds are, it was through self checkout; 91% of people under the age of 35 prefer using self checkout, and sales through this system totaled $197 Billion in 2019. Self-serving technology like we see at the supermarket could potentially work it’s way into other industries, too; many banks are considering adding more advanced ATM’s to essentially eliminate tellers. These are just a few examples of the types of jobs that we could see evaporate within the next few years
This makes a lot of sense for businesses, as they replace hourly employees with one-time investments in machines. However, as time goes on and as more of these jobs are replaced by technology, we will soon face a serious employment problem. In the past, when certain jobs became “outdated”, people simply found other jobs. If you were a movie projectionist, switchboard operator, or log driver in the past, you were simply in tore for a career change. However, the issue we’re soon going to face is entirely different. In the past, making a career switch was a hassle, but it was no big deal. Soon, there will be few careers to even switch to. Entire professions in particular industries are going to be completely wiped out, leaving millions of people unemployed. While the effects of automation will be devastating for employees, automating labor makes too much sense for businesses to pass up. A self checkout machine can cash out thousands of people without needing breaks, sick days, workers comp, etc. It can’t call in, quit, throw a temper tantrum, demand a raise, or any of the things that employers consider inconvenient for them.
Many will argue against the eventual labor takeover by machines, claiming that machines lack the human appeal in business, as well as their susceptibility to power outages, software bugs, and other things that can occasionally make us turn against the technology we’ve come to know and love. However, at the end of the day, it wont matter, as businesses don’t care about their employees jobs or the good of the overall economy; they care about money. If this technology is making business more efficient, and therefore more profitable, the shift toward this technology is inevitable. The problem we will eventually face is how to feed the people and families affected by their loss of income