Everyone fears massive technological change like the next industrial revolution which has been used to describe the Internet of Things (IoT). This gnawing fear is both a knee-jerk reaction and has many historical precedents. The car replaced the carriage, the factories displaced the farming land, and a lot of people were thrown out of work. The same question haunts a generation today that is seeing the confluence of diverse technologies into co-existing, collaborating platforms that are capable of dissecting and analyzing tons of data: “Will my job be replaced by the machine? Will what I do be obsolete tomorrow?”
And the honest truth is, yes, many jobs will be replaced not just by IoT but by the rise of the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in our everyday living, from smart cars, Internet-wired security systems, to fertility-measuring breeding devices. One study has already forecasted that robotics will replace five million jobs in 2020 — and that’s barely four years’ away.
But that’s only one side of the story. Every industrial revolution also created jobs, and not just removed them. The invention of the modern automobile has birthed a global industry and employed millions of people throughout many generations. The same holds true for the evolution of the modern factory and the harnessing of electricity. In the same way, IoT is already creating a stream of jobs and other opportunities — and it’s advisable that you become proactive and prepare for them now, instead of being left behind by the march of the digital drums.
Take a look at how the IoT will be changing the global job market.
First, the casualties. Simple, task-oriented, repetitive work that requires manual rote does not require critical thinking or specialized skills will be replaced. These soon-to-be-endangered jobs include the following:
- Manual labor like janitorial work, housekeeping, and warehouse inventory – Some institutions like hospitals, hotels, and supermarkets have begun using robots to clean garbage and help customers with their orders.
- Administrative, secretarial, and online customer service.Just think how automated voice solutions replaced human voice operators over a decade ago.
- Financial advisory: Automated financial gurus like SigFig can plan out your pension and map out an investment road map for you faster than your dad’s former insurance manager can.
Second, let’s look at the survivors. The good news is, a lot of jobs are still safe. Those who require human interaction and are founded on understanding human behavior and emotions with the objective to make a person happier, healthier, and more fulfilled cannot be done by smart systems or unemotional machines. These occupations that bank on creativity, empathy, and intuition include the following:
- Health care professionals like doctors, nurses, psychiatrists
- Guidance counselors
- Personal customer service representatives
- Accounting managers
- Product specialists
- Marketing designers
Finally, let’s look at the job that IoT will create, as it causes a convergence of various technologies and industries. As new business ecosystems are formed, the jobs in them also evolve, catering to the needs not just of one sector, but of several. Some of these new jobs include:
- Designers of medical robots,
- Personified medical device consultants
- Grid modernization managers
- Intermodal transportation network engineers
- IT project managers
- Data scientists
- Highly skilled and innovative software developers
Instead of seeing the shifting job landscape through eyes of anxiety, let’s welcome it with a more optimistic view of the opportunities that the future presents. More jobs will be created, than lost but the time to prepare is now.
About D.N. Clemente
Based in New York City, he writes about tech meetups on Artificial Intelligence, Big Data/Business Intelligence, E-commerce, Internet of Things, Edutech, Fintech, the Sharing Economy, Tech Startups, UX Design as well as various fundraising methods and tips from startup founders.
Follow him on linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/dennisclemente