By Rinith Taing
When I told people that one day their jobs will be done by robots, they simply laugh. They either think that they are special and unreplaceable or believe that their work is too complicated to be done by Artificial Intelligence (AI). Yet, we have to look into world history to see the trend.
The first industrial revolution, which saw the transition in the manufacturing process from relying strongly on labor to the use of steam power and mechanization of production, cost millions of human jobs. Then, the consequential technological discovery and improvement eliminated many jobs, from telephone operators and redrawers to secretaries and typists.
Still think that was ancient? Let’s look back not too long ago. Only ten years ago, the “normal” mobile phones were still dominating the world, and only a few people imagined that the recently-invented “smartphone” would be replacing tens of devices including portable computers, camera, voice recorders, videogame consoles, and so on. The rapidly advancing technologies are putting many jobs at risk, including proofreaders, translators, data analysts, designers, journalists, etc. and the list grows every day. In fact, The World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded in a recent report that “a new generation of smart machines, fueled by rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, could potentially replace a large proportion of existing human jobs.
So what should we do to stay “unreplaceable” in such a modern age? You have to bear in mind that no one can do a robot job better than a robot. However, there are still humanly features that robots or AI cannot be programmed to possess, including creativity, leadership, rhetoric, empathy, communication, collaboration and so on. These shall be the new tendency of education to prepare students for the future.
Also, as old jobs disappear, new jobs emerge. Those jobs usually require the skills which allow you to use, control, and fix the new technologies. Obviously, if you think that you know enough and ignore learning new things and upskill, you are thus likely to be run over by the wheel of history.