The Robot Replacement


Ginny Campbell, Writer

Technology is rapidly changing and becoming increasingly sophisticated. Certain jobs will soon be replaced by computers, and the trend will continue. So, the question is: how can someone avoid becoming obsolete in the future?

According to a recent report by Forrester, a market research company, 6% of jobs will be eliminated by 2021. Where will these jobs be going? It will not be overseas. Instead, they will be replaced with computer-driven automation devices.

They will mostly be service jobs like taxi drivers and customer service representatives. Advances in technology make this more and more likely. For example, Tesla and other automotive companies are already working on driverless cars. Even Google has been working on driverless cars. Amazon has been talking about delivery drones for ages and recently unveiled a prototype, and Dyson recently unveiled a highly effective robotic floor cleaner.

Another report by the World Economic Forum states that 5.1 million jobs will disappear from the U.S., India, and several other leading nations. The jobs that will go missing are office and administrative roles. This includes salespeople, real estate agents, and people in manufacturing and production. Professions in the field of healthcare will also be reduced. Much of this will be accomplished via automated devices.

With the end of the service jobs, new jobs will be created as the overseers of the automatons. The issue with that, though, is that it requires technical skills. The people replaced will need to be re-educated and given new job skills. However, this is unlikely to happen. Instead, unemployment will presumably continue to increase.

What does this mean for the future of college students? At first glance, it does not mean much, but in the future, jobs will require working more closely with automatons and having technical skills. College students need to start developing key skills now that will keep them from becoming obsolete.

Currently, college students make up the Millennial Generation, which now outnumbers the previous Baby Boomer Generation. With a future of job shrinkage, that means a growing competitive market for what jobs will still exist or be created. College students need to start preparing now for their uncertain future.

Steps to avoid becoming obsolete in the future involve avoiding jobs that can be done by robots, but that’s easier said than done. Where will technology be in 20 years? In 30 years? No one knows for sure. So, the best skills involve being technologically proficient. Knowing how to work with technology, having the ability to learn it quickly, and possessing the flexibility to be willing to work with them can help you go far. A willingness to learn and adapt is desirable when job searching.

The options currently available to college students are to embrace technology and all the “improvements” it brings to life or to go the way of the Luddites. The Luddites were a group of English textile workers who were against labor-economizing technologies in the 1800s. They did not like the new technology of the time that threatened to replace low paying jobs. Despite a rebellion, the low wage jobs were still replaced and the term “Luddite” is now synonymous with someone who hates technology and computerization.

So, will you be on the side of the robots or the Luddites?