When most individuals think of job-killing robots, they think of automated devices on the factory floor that tireless toil as a replacement for humans. These are the so-called "blue collar" robots.
Time to readjust your thinking?
But few consider the "white collar robots" that rarely are visible and inhabit places other than the factory floor. These oft-invisible robots can replace your position as surely as a robotic welder can replace a human.
The white-collar robots have no exoskeleton or physical structure, they are embedded systems residing on chips. They often take the form of "expert systems" that dumb-down decision-making to the point where barely literate teenagers can operate with the effectiveness and efficiency of PhDs.
The key is to look at your position and the ways in which it can be automated. From data capture, display, decision-making, and monitoring. And asking how long before my position can be automated. The handwriting is on the wall.
Is there hope?
Are we looking at a dystopian future of a reduced standard of living, falling wages, massive unemployment, and increasing inequality between investors, managers, and employees?
Historically speaking, disruption in the labor markets has always been with us since the rise of the automated loom, the use of steam-powered devices, the widespread use of electric motors, and now the coupling of automation with labor-saving devices. However, while disruptions did impact industries and individuals, the benefits to society increased and individuals were re-accommodated within newly-rejiggered positions.
What is different this time is that our population is aging and individuals graduating from schools are more well-versed in modern technology tools than the current workforce. So the question becomes one of dealing with aging workers at or near the end of their careers.
Moreover, when one considers the outsourcing of manufacturing to low-wage countries, how long will it be before the cost of automated labor is reduced below that of competent human workers.
And, if you are looking toward governmental policies as a solution to some of the thornier issues of automation in the workplace, one need only remember that policy is controlled by a relatively few special interests that can afford to corrupt political discourse.
It is time to reconsider everything, much in the same manner, as we would use zero-based budgeting to re-evaluate and prioritize the most efficient use of our resources, be they time, effort, or money.
Are you wondering, Am I Next?