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Will your occupation soon be extinct?
06-May-16
Automation is happening right now and it is going to change the way we work and the types of job that require a human touch. In almost every industry the human touch will be replaced with quicker, more reliable and crucially cheaper labour.

A third of jobs within the retail market in the UK are forecasted to disappear by 2025. This isn’t just a blue collar problem though, professional services will be hugely affected as well with 114,000 legal sector jobs disappearing over the next 20 years. Transport, as intimated previously, is where the biggest losses will be experienced. In the USA alone there are 8.7m people employed in traditional tracking.

Nick Srnicek, writer of the influential book inventing the future says: “The technology we’re talking about today is really touching on areas that we thought were always going to be the preserve of humans: non-routine tasks, things like driving a car – but then also the automation of basic social interaction, like call-centre work, customer service work and all that kind of stuff. A lot of jobs are going to be taken, possibly at a very rapid pace. That means that, even if it doesn’t lead to mass unemployment, automation leads to a massive shift in the labour market, and people having to find new jobs and new skills.”

A quick prediction of 6 occupations that are on the decline and may become extinct in the not too distant future….

  1. LibrarianNot as we know it anyway. People are reading on tablets, mobiles and kindles. Although virtual media and the Internet search deleted the Dewey decimal system, people are still enjoy reading books the old-fashioned way and appreciate research help. The new librarian is now a digital archivist, savvy with searches, keywords and helpful websites.
  2. Travel Agents - Booking and travel details are accessible online now, almost anyone can research destinations, make reservations and be their own agent all from the comfort of their living room whilst enjoying a cup of tea in their pajamas.
  3. Family Farms - Automation and corporate conglomerates have ploughed under many family farms, leaving shopping plazas in their wake. Savvy landowners have added organic farm markets and seasonal attractions such as pumpkin patches and Christmas trees. Carrying on the family farm will require more business sense than horse sense moving forward.
  4. Supermarket Cashier - Checked out? E-commerce and self-checkout have eased our need for cashiers. Turns out we can crush our own bread and break the eggs at roughly the same rate and with less of a wait. "Ten items or less" lives, and you'll still get that human touch when the scanner misfires and you're forced to signal for the one clerk who's helping a coupon queen use self-checkout for the very first time.
  5. The Postman - Will email filter out the postal service? With so much of our communication, shopping, bill-paying and even banking taking place online these days, it seems like paper mail may soon be as quaint as ice and milk deliveries. Although traditional letterboxes may show up as planters in antique shops (next to the butter churns), the rise of eCommerce has increased business shipping needs, and faxing hard goods is still the stuff of science fiction, so a responsive Royal Mail has refocused their efforts on package deliveries. Advice to postal workers: Bulk up those biceps.
  6. On-air DJ - Podcasting, web and satellite radio, and syndicated programming have forever changed your local radio station. Yeah, you can still be the 12th caller and talk to a live DJ, but these endangered creatures may be running out of air. The airwaves are being replaced by "web waves" and satellite signals. Disc jockeys who can see past terrestrial radio and bring their communication skills into the future, stand a good chance of keeping their voices heard, the songs playing -- and our teenagers' music choices driving us crazy.

While we are at it ….. lets’ take a trip down memory lane and have a look at a few occupations that have already become extinct…

  1. TypistUnfortunately Ctrl, Alt and Deleted.Words per minute” used to mean something when errors required a tedious application of white-out. But word processing on virtual paper has removed the wow factor of typing perfection. Professional typists lost out to the backspace key, and also to spell check, which can rack up artificial IQ points as easily as a good video game cheat code.
  2. Video Store Clerk – Initially replaced by DVD’s but with live streaming on the web, mailbox deliveries, Netflix, Showbox etc etc Video stores are long extinct but DVD’s are declining now too.
  3. The Iceman Once upon a time people had to rely on an iceman to deliver blocks of ice directly to their homes. Then one day someone's proud mom needed a magnetic surface for her children's school papers and artwork, and the refrigerator was invented. Iceman became coldly extinct.
  4. The Paperboy - A newspaper route was once a pre-dawn suburban rite of passage, but then the digital age dawned. Newspapers are but a click away on our computers. The truly enterprising paperboy has put his door-to-door skills to work building a lawn mowing empire.
  5. The Switchboard Operator - The voice prompting us to push buttons and recite the "last four" of our "Social" used to be a live person sensitive to our manners. Voice recognition has made the phone operator nonessential and probably happier in some alternate universe where "please" and "thank you" are as common as YouTube videos. Some of us still speak kindly to the automated voice, in case an actual operator or our mother overhears us. But many of us just repeatedly punch "0" for Customer Service in hopes of venting to a real human once again.
  6. The Milkman - The old Norman Rockwell figure of a smiling milkman dressed in pristine white is becoming a thing of the past. Partly due to progress in food preservation: home refrigeration is better and milk is now prepared to last longer. The rise of the supermarket is also a factor. Now, even small independent dairies sell their products directly to grocery stores. People needing groceries – including milk – delivered to their homes can arrange cheap food deliveries from superstores.