Well not us here at Leisure Wheels, but some of you out there will eventually be replaced by a machine.
That’s if a study on computerisable jobs is to be believed. It’s not the most scientific study I’ve ever seen, since it relies on the average person’s perception on the future rather than on actual scientific research, but it does make for some interesting reading.
We all know computers are getting smarter, which means they’re getting closer to the point where they’ll start replacing human labour. Think that’s nothing more than a pipe dream? Well, I thought so too, until I read earlier this week that some mine out in the North West province is thinking of turning its one shaft into robot central. No more humans working underground, they say.
I suppose it makes sense, as I’ve been underground multiple times and know how dangerous it can be. But what about the workers the machine will inevitably replace? How’s he going to provide for his family?
That’s an ethical conundrum for another day, so, for now, let’s return to the study that reveals who people think will be the first to be replaced by robots.
The top four make a lot of sense to me personally. They are loan officers, receptionists and information clerks, paralegals and legal assistants and retail salespersons. Most of these make sense, but the job in fifth spot makes me rather nervous.
A total of 89% of the people sampled believe that computers will eventually replace taxi drivers and chauffeurs. That means the average person believes that autonomous vehicles are not that far away, and that does have a drastic effect on my job.
In a world full of autonomous vehicles, a motoring journalist is about as much use as hamburger stand at a vegetarian convention.
Luckily, there are the faithful few who will always feel more at ease driving themselves, so autonomous vehicles probably won’t take over for at least another 100 years. Yes, they do currently exist, but here’s the problem with autonomy; in order for it to work, all vehicles have to be autonomous. Can you imagine a brand-new S-class having to share a road with a SA taxi?
The new S-class is a brilliant car with more technology than the average satellite orbiting space, but five minutes of driving by itself in Sandton or in City Central would undoubtedly fry its computer chip.
The bottom of the list features the usual suspects, which is to say the jobs that will never be replaced by a robot. The top five are physicians and surgeons, elementary school teachers, lawyers (a pity, I know), musicians and reporters.
Computers simply can’t cope with these jobs, because they require manipulation on a scale a computer or robot can’t mimic, creativity and social perception.
I for one am glad that I won’t be replaced by a computer anytime soon and I certainly hope that this computerisation of everything eventually halts to a complete stop. Yes, it makes sense in certain cases, but if the trend continues we’ll all eventually be out of a job.
Most of us will sit at home all day long, simply because we don’t have a job to go to. The surgeons, lawyers, musicians and reports will also have nothing to do, because the rest of us will be out of a job and unable to pay for their services.
It’s a scary thought, but luckily it’ something we don’t have to worry about right now. Unless you’re a loan officer, in which case I’d keep a look out for any extra computers being carried in at work. They might just be there to replace you, Skynet style.