As technology advances the fear of workers being replaced has never been more real. The truth though is a bit different as technology is helping business become more productive and allow workers to focus on what they do best. Here we highlight how tech is changing the conventional workplace but the majority of the transformation is quite positive as you will see.
Should We be Scared of Technology Replacing Our Jobs?
In a world of ever changing technology there is a fear of being replaced by robots of some sort. We have read it, heard and maybe even spoken about it multiple times. But, could it really happen? Can all jobs be outsourced to technology? To be fair technology has made some huge strides in its capabilities – even having a personality – think Siri or Cortana or Bixby or Alexa or on and on and on.
Those are a reality of our life that at times, may make us feel more like the Jetsons than the everyday suburbanites we are. I mean we all thought by now there would be flying cars – thank goodness there isn’t; people have a hard enough time just driving forward! I can’t imagine what it would be like to have people driving vertically as well.
Technology Will Never Completely Replace Human Workers
With all technology there are limitations, for example Alexa is only Alexa when it is asked to do something by a human. Even technology’s best attempt to anticipate your needs have failed dramatically. All of this customized advertising that is supposed to serve up ads that meet your current needs is useless. You probably see many “custom” ads that are served to you based on your searching habits for products you have already bought. So much for Artificial Intelligence being my shopping partner. And then you have to figure out how to go and turn the repetitive ads off.
Truth: Alexa is only Alexa when it is asked to do something by a human."
Within technology there are advancements that will take jobs away from people. But the overarching thought is that those jobs will allow people to pursue more meaningful work or enhance their focus on their tasks and create more value for their company.
When ATM’s first came out people thought they would completely change the banking industry and all bank tellers would lose their jobs. That never happened – actually the opposite happened, the banking industry grew at unprecedented rates.
Money saved on salaries or low skilled efforts was invested into new products and offerings. That seems to be a common theme although fear will always drive misconceptions and sadly enough there is technology that will replace workers, but it is definitely not there yet.
How Humans can Adjust Their Skill Set to Technology
In thinking through this there are a few things we need to consider. One is our education system and its lack of ability to prepare students for the current needs of the workforce. The other is a pure lack of workers that we have in America. There is a shortage of workers for just about every skill set needed from Forklift Drivers to Computer Programmers. This may never be offset with our current population numbers and the growth of jobs at this current time.
So, what that may ultimately mean is that we need workers that are truly flexible in nature and continuous learners that can move between differing jobs with differing skill needs than previously needed in past generations. Which also means workers can no longer rely on a company to keep their skills relevant – they will need to be dedicated to up skilling themselves independently. This situation could return entry level jobs to better salaries as the work being assigned could be more meaningful to the worker and more valuable to the company.
If a bot of some sort is able to replace workers, it will more likely be seen in the jobs that are redundant and require less skill. Which in turn will allow those entry level workers to work in a more challenging and potentially rewarding career/s.
Contact the Author
Nick is the Executive Vice President of Sales for V-Soft Consulting. He has over 25 years of experience in the employment services industry and specializes in change management and driving operational efficiencies.
Nick is an expert on the changing world of work and a consultant to many companies in helping them prepare for coming changes. Most recently Nick has been a speaker at various SHRM Conferences around the country on the topic of AI, HR Automation, and job security.
Nick is also a self-proclaimed expert barbecue smoker, so be sure to ask him about his latest experiment. Connect with Nick on LinkedIn here or just give us a call toll free, (844) 425-8425 and we'll track him down for you!