First it was the typists, then the travel agents, and now the taxi drivers … Who’s next in the seemingly endless parade of jobs that will be replaced by machines? Waiters, pharmacists, lawyers? The answer may be “all of the above.” The biggest hospitality company (AirBnB) owns no real estate and the biggest location scout (SnapScout.com) has no staff. The sharing economy, love it or hate it, is here to stay. And no matter how much government and interest groups push back, nothing can stop the tide of history.
Here are 4 jobs that may seem unrecognizable to future generations:
No this isn’t some quirky Japanese restaurant with clumsy robots maneuvering around tables. This is Applebee’s and other major restaurant chains. That iPad on your table? That’s more than just entertainment. It’s the death throe of a venerable industry that put your kids through college and acts as the de facto part time job for millions. The fact is, a computer is better at waiting tables than a person. And really any job that requires “customer service reps” to do simple tasks, including a concierge at a hotel or a staffer at the car rental counter, can be replaced by a computer. A computer won’t whiz right past you as you are trying to get their attention. And best of all, they up restaurant sales. It’s a lot easier to get that guilty dessert or second helping when you are ordering it from a tablet.
From corporate photography to big budget productions, the time-honored location scout has been a fixture of the entertainment industry. But no longer. Sites such as SnapScout.com are quickly replacing the need for such services, fully crowdsourcing and automating the process.
Robots like PillPick are already able to count and sort pills far more efficiently than humans. This robot can fill up to 350,000 prescriptions without a single error. Currently the law says a pharmacist must be present to dispense drugs but if that legislation changes, they may be on their way out.
While there may always be a need for high-profile trial lawyers, most lawyers perform drudging office tasks easily replicated by machines. So much of legal work is just pouring over fundamentally linear, dynamic and indexable text systems. And that’s something a computer can do better. A system called “predictive coding” is 3x times faster than humans at legal document review, putting many junior attorney’s jobs on the chopping block.
According to Frey and Osborne, 47% of American jobs are vulnerable to computerization in the next 20 years. In addition to watching your back for the competition, you have to zoom out and focus on large, industry-level shifts such as the vulnerability you or your business has to automation. Don’t get wiped out by a website, robot or mobile app. Rather, use your personal knowledge and relationships to stay ahead of the trends and make automation work for you.
Profit-focused Internet marketing strategist Kirill Storch is CEO of Electric Web, a field leader in mobile app and website development, programming and online revenue generation through e-commerce, social media and marketing communications initiatives. He may be reached at www.ElectricWebMarketing.com.