The technological progress we witness today is fascinating and scary at the same time, with emerging technologies penetrating more and more our daily and working routine. Even though innovative breakthroughs create many opportunities and provide solutions, development of technology has been so rapid that ethical concerns have arisen around the potential that it could have too much impact, and potentially threats to the job market.
When working on a new tech product or service, today, developers tend to focus not so much on improved performance in the form of physical tools, but its programming capabilities and how machines can learn information and tasks just like humans. By showing impressive results in jobs that humans either can't do or where are they are not productive enough, artificial intelligence and software solutions will continue to provide critical solutions, and big companies will likely be tempted to replace human labor with technology for the sake of productivity and lower cost. The battle between technology and people has only just begun, though, and there are ways to adapt to the coming changes.
Being tech and digitally savvy is no longer an added bonus on a CV, but a necessity across the entire range of industries - from engineering to fashion. The latter, for example, is catching up on technology by promoting fashion shows and uses it as an aid in the creation of clothing and accessories. This year's Met Gala fashion event ‘Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology’ has become a symbol of how fashion and technology are merging, with top couturiers proving through their work that technology fits all industries. The outfits are now being designed and produced with the help of 3D printing, integration of smart wearables, laser-cutting and digital knitting - to name a few.
To stay up to date with the advancements in technology, though, not only fashion but all industries must ensure their employees have the right skill set. According to the report by Burning Glass, last year alone there was as many as 7 million tech-associated job openings in the US. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also found that industries requiring software and tech professionals are the most sought sort after outside the tech sector - with finance, manufacturing, and healthcare topping the list.
The key reason those from the non-tech world demand tech and digital literacy is the increasing adoption of digital platforms, channels, and machinery that are capable of accelerating business and production processes. But, aside from providing more convenience and boost in productivity, such innovations also put people's jobs at risk.
One example demonstrating how this is already occurring is the recent move from retail giant Walmart to patent self-pushing shopping carts. The innovation is programmed in a way that carts can assist customers with their shop lists, scan, deliver, retrieve goods, and check inventory - leaving shopping assistants and cart-pushers little to no chance to keep their job. Mail services have also made a big step towards the automated systems operated by technology in the form of drones. There may soon be no need for drivers to get stuck in traffic, with Amazon, UPS, and Fed-Ex getting close to introducing a new service where packages will be delivered to your doorstep by connected drones.
It's hard to predict to what extent the world will continue to be disrupted by technology, so probably the only way, for now, is to adapt to existing changes by acquiring new jobs on top of the existing ones. At the moment, as much as new technology is replacing jobs, it also creates new ones - so a certain degree of transformation will happen but replacement options will be sure to follow. However, it's worth starting to learn coding, as well as software and digital skills, and keeping an eye on regulations in robotics and technology, because the sooner you get into the field, the less painful the consequences will be when robots come to steal your job.