I was just wondering how the world will look twenty years hence. There is a major change going on in the world called industry 4.0! What jobs will be available, and what businesses could lose out? It is difficult to tell, at the same time, it is not so difficult. Robotics, AI are two game changers which are already on the horizon for ordinary people, but for techies, these are already around for some time. Will there be any bloggers after twenty years? Yes, they will be there, but there is a good chance that I will not be around.
So here we go!
- Call Centre operators
- We have already seen the BOTS (Web Robot) operating
- Many times when we talk to toll-free numbers with Amazon, Flipkart et al. we are talking to BOTS. They are trained to answer standard questions based on our identity and our discussion history. Their “brain” gets updated as we call more. In case we ask some information which they cannot answer, AI trains them to say “Could you hold on for a minute? I will transfer the call to my supervisor.” The supervisor could be a human being, giving support to 20/30 such BOTS.
- Automobile drivers
- Companies are going very strong in creating technology for driverless cars. Such vehicles are already plying in certain areas in the US. Amazon is already using driverless trucks to transport their goods. Google’s Waymo and GM are two companies that are way ahead of their competitors. Over a period, there is a good possibility that the requirement for drivers will go down drastically.
- AI and Blockchain technologies together are creating business solutions that do the work of charter accountants. The data entry and the checking are rule-based. The rules don’t change every day, but even if they change, there are methods which will take care of these changes. It could be one profession that could get replaced fast.
- Bank Tellers
- All of us are observing this phenomenon for some time. ATM card proliferation is taking place exponentially. People can withdraw money from any ATM. But in future, it can so happen that you may not need to withdraw money. My son Sachin who lives in the US rarely has any cash with him. Most places he pays by credit card. On the petrol pumps, I have seen him paying by using the RFID device for more than ten years. In India, recently, RFID tags are introduced to pay the toll on highways.
- Travel agents
- Travel agents? What is that? I have been buying all my travel requirements on various websites. I don’t remember when I last purchased travel tickets from an agent. It includes bus journeys too!
- Newspaper delivery guys
- Internationally, people have reduced buying the newspapers drastically. The print volume has gone down so much that it is no more viable to print the newspaper. Small newspapers are slowly shutting shop, and the large ones will also follow suit. In India, we are still lucky that readership is still manageable. But the trend of people getting their news on TV and the Internet is already set in!
- When there are no newspapers, what is the need for conventional journalists? Everybody will be a reporter in future. The news organisations will need to check the authenticity of the news items. But with vastly improved cell phone cameras, video proofs are available.
- Robots will replace the telemarketers, the same as in the case of call centre operators, with one human managing large number of robots.
- What will the referees do in sports events? The vast number of cameras capture each action, including fouls, no-balls in cricket, shuttle falling outside court in badminton. These technologies are already there. The role of umpires and referees will be significantly reduced.
- Assembly line workers
- We have observed this happening for quite some time. The robots have been doing a lot of things. The advantage of robots is they usually don’t make mistakes, and they have no mood changes. They are never on holiday or don’t take sick leave, suddenly.
This list can go on and on. But I am also going to write about businesses closing down.
- Petroleum Business
- Currently, this is one of the biggest businesses in the world. With the advent of electric vehicles, the requirement of these products will drastically reduce. Trials are already being done on electric aeroplanes and boats. These developments will reduce the petroleum product requirement further. The demand for EV’s also will be forced by the need for better environmental pollution control.
- Coal business is going to go down over a period for the same reason, pollution. Non-conventional energy-producing methods like solar, wind and nuclear power are set to push aside coal–based energy production. Over a period, the coal–based power plants will have to shut down, along with that the coal mines.
- Law business
- It is already seen that AI can give law advice easily. IBM’s Watson has proven this. Law decisions are based on the laws and rules; it also is dependent on the previous interpretation of the law. AI can easily combine these two to advise customers.
- Automobile servicing and repair business
- As the electric vehicles are used in large numbers, the requirement for shops giving these services will come down in a big way. The IC engine cars have more than 2000 parts in the drive train. Whereas in the EV, the drive train has about 18 items. Only the electric motors have the moving parts. Hence, the repairs and maintenance work will be as good as zero in the drive train.
- The IC engine drive train has parts that are manufactured by forging, casting, rolling and heat treatment processes. These processes form a large percentage of the primary engineering industry. These industries employ a vast number of people. As the requirement goes down, there will be no growth. There will be a big slump. There will be a slump in the industry, making machines and machinery required for these core engineering businesses.
- Now people have realised that cigarette smoking is injurious to health. It is not just a government slogan. Younger people have reduced smoking of tobacco products as well as their E equivalents. It is one industry that will go down, but it is good for the human race. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption does not show a sign of reducing.
What is the reason for writing the blog? Well, the writing is on the wall, but we fail to see it, many times. People who are in the process of joining the workforce should think before joining any industry. Seniors should advise young people based on the information shared.
The list is not exhaustive, and many more jobs and industries could end up on this list. It is a good idea to keep track of such information to avoid obsolescence. Take care! Keep your eyes and ears open!