Why Automation Will Create Career OpportunitiesDec 12, 2021
Automation has always been a touchy subject. Perhaps the earliest well-known example of people taking action against automation was the Luddite movement, which became popular in the early 19th Century. The creation of huge water and steam-powered mills by wealthy landowners and industrialists terrified the Luddites. They were made up of skilled laborers – weavers and craftspeople – who saw their careers being in jeopardy thanks to the new methods of automation being employed in factories. They felt like they were being frozen out of a living by machines, and they feared that their children would suffer the same fate.
Fear Of Replacement
This is pretty much identical to fears expressed today about the current wave of automation. The current wave of automation is not driven by steam and water but by robotics, Artificial Intelligence, data analysis algorithms, and the Internet of Things. The great fear surrounding automation is always that it will deprive people of their chances to earn a good living. There has been, for good reason, a great deal of criticism surrounding the automation of job roles. This is especially worthwhile criticism because of the ownership of automating technological solutions: these owners are the monopolists of today’s economy. Amazon, for instance, is a law unto itself and has been working on state-of-the-art automation technologies for many years. It is hard to believe that mega-corporations such as Amazon have the good of their human workforce in mind when they work on automation solutions.
Automation is, however, unstoppable in many cases. The introduction of conveyor belt systems like those made by fluentconveyors.com to mines in the early 1900s was bad for employment but ultimately good for society because it prevented children from being employed in mines pulling carts. Factories and manufacturing companies can ensure that their staff are safe even now by installing conveyors, leaving them to do much safer jobs. The good of society is far more complex than employment figures.
There is some hopeful news. Automation, it turns out, might not be so bad for employment after all. In terms of net employment, it may even help. The World Economic Forum predicts that automation will lead to a net increase of 58 million jobs. This increase in jobs is predicted to come in several sectors:
Engineering: Many more specialist engineers will be needed by companies to plan out automation solutions. Naturally, those applying for these types of jobs would need to be highly skilled and have specialized training to work in certain fields of engineering.
Programming: Programmers will need to be employed on a mass scale to create software that determines the way in which automation equipment works. This could help automation to keep improving and make an even bigger impact.
Maintenance: Machines still need human contact, even if they possess complex AI. Many maintenance staff will need to be employed to help large systems run without a hitch. Just because automation seems to be everywhere and seemingly runs by itself, this is simply not the case. With the increase of automation, therefore, the increase of jobs should follow soon after.
Analysis: Data collection and analysis will be needed in order to improve systems. Data scientists and analysts are in high demand already, and if automation grows any bigger, these jobs prospects also increase.
These are all likely to be very lucrative and varied roles. If you are scientifically minded and looking for a sector to go into, then any kind of role in the field of automation is likely to have a future. The issues surrounding the kind of employment and the kind of employees and employers will not, however, go away.
You might be able to see a trend here. Automation has the potential to create a great many jobs. These jobs are mostly highly skilled and require a high level of education. Some theorists have expressed fears that this will lead to increased employability discrepancy between those with the means to afford a university education and those that cannot. Serious changes to educational policy need to be made in order to give all young people the ability to find employment in an automated world. Some countries, such as the UK, have made a great deal of investment in STEM career training in schools, but this does not mean that some people will not be left behind in this shifting world. It may be that society never sees the Fully Automated Luxury Communism imagined by Aaron Bastani, but it may be possible to see movements dedicated to the pressuring of governments in order to make them enforce rules about fair employment in an automated society. These movements will be essential to the future of employment.
Automation will certainly create jobs. This is a good thing. It is the job of society as a whole to create an environment where those jobs are fairly doled out.
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