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Default Jobs that will disappear and what will people do instead?

December 11th, 2014, 11:32
I've prepared a list of jobs that I think will more or less disappear or at least significantly be reduced in the coming 10/20 years. And I am wondering, what do you think people will do instead?

Original:
Cab Drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers - Self-driving cars.
Retail Clerk - Self-service machines.
Manufacturing workers - 3d-printers, robots
Postmen - E-mail / social media
Delivery Men - Drones
Photo models - Computer Animation
Storeroom Worker - Robots
Added:
Metro Drivers - Automatic driver
Soldiers - Robots
Chemists - Process Machines

New Jobs:
Repairing the above mentioned machines
Programming the above mentioned machines
Animator for CG photo models, actors etc.

I'll keep updating the list, and it'll be good if people add their suggestions to as well as what they think people would do instead.
Last edited by GothicGothicness; December 15th, 2014 at 15:08.
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December 11th, 2014, 12:11
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I've prepared a list of jobs that I think will more or less disappear or at least significantly be reduced in the coming 10/20 years. And I am wondering, what do you think people will do instead?

Cab Drivers, truck drivers, bus drivers - Self-driving cars.
Unlikely to happen so fast in my opinion. Self-driving cars will need to go through decades of regulation changes before they become viable and no government will be willing to risk seeing mass accidents and the backlash for that.

It is likely to happen over the next 5-7 decades or so.

Retail Clerk - Self-service machines.
I think it might be reduced somewhat, but many people still enjoy shopping and seeing people. Maybe in 4 decades or so.

Manufacturing workers - 3d-printers
Already happening now, but I would say it might actually increase the maount of factory workers in the West as jobs would move back here. It would just be higher skilled ones.

Postmen - E-mail / social media
You've missed the boat on that one

Also, deliveries of parcels has increased a lot, while normal letters have reduced significantly…
So postmen are still alive, but in a different shape.

Delivery Men - Drones
Unlikely to happen for a long time, same problems as with self-driving cars.

Within pilot projects, it would be fine, but the moment one flies out of the sky and kills someone due to anything, this is going to be problematic.


Photo models - Computer Animation
I don't see this happening in the next few decades.

Storeroom Worker - Robots
Already happening …
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December 11th, 2014, 12:22
Scientists - industry paid "experts" (Sorry, couldn't resist)

I'm not sure all of those will disappear completely, mostly for the reasons Pladio gave.

It's an interesting question to ponder, though, especially when you think of how many jobs have already disappeared over time.
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December 11th, 2014, 12:28
One question I would ask is what new jobs would come up….

I think that's interesting…

Would you have traffic towers for the drones for example when they do pass muster through regulations et al
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December 11th, 2014, 12:28
Photo models - Computer Animation

I don't see this happening in the next few decades.
Well, this one is easy to debunk, as it is already happening, H&M already have mostly computer generated models on their websites, and other cloth retailers are following put fast. So it is a fact. Of course real models will be in the fashion shows, but this is a case of a job not being gone but significantly reduced.

Unlikely to happen so fast in my opinion. Self-driving cars will need to go through decades of regulation changes before they become viable and no government will be willing to risk seeing mass accidents and the backlash for that.

It is likely to happen over the next 5-7 decades or so.
This is a tough one of course, but I think it'll go faster than you'd think, and one of the main selling points will probably be to reduce accidents? Most incidents are already caused by human error.

Postmen - E-mail / social media

You've missed the boat on that one

Also, deliveries of parcels has increased a lot, while normal letters have reduced significantly…
So postmen are still alive, but in a different shape.
The post office in most countries has 1/4 of employees they had only 10 years ago, or less, and the work force is being further reduced.

Manufacturing workers - 3d-printers

Already happening now, but I would say it might actually increase the maount of factory workers in the West as jobs would move back here. It would just be higher skilled ones.
Well, the net effect is still much fewer workers either way globally.

Delivery Men - Drones

Unlikely to happen for a long time, same problems as with self-driving cars.

Within pilot projects, it would be fine, but the moment one flies out of the sky and kills someone due to anything, this is going to be problematic.
Amazon already started with their pilote, I am sure it'll not take as long as you think…. people have a hard time imagining how fast technology moves. 10 years is an ocean of time… imagine what the world was like 10 years ago… it appears like it was 1900 for the young people of today.
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December 11th, 2014, 13:52
Fighting the machines?

Sorry for my stupid post but i had to do it.
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December 11th, 2014, 15:25
Originally Posted by GothicGothicness View Post
I'll keep updating the list, and it'll be good if people add their suggestions to as well as what they think people would do instead.
I believe all jobs are doomed except production control (automacy), design (any) and, of course, plumming.
And we'll still need someone to work at the mortuary and to clean streets.

I'll add another obvious vanishing job to your list, global digitalization and e-ink means librarians will cease to exist. Paper outside of toilet will soon become a luxury.

What will people do instead of their jobs is the same thing they did before.
You have people not capable to do anything? Send them to wage irrelevant wars. Even if useless in a modern society, they can still kill something.
Many benefits from that: overgrown population number gets lowered, a country gets it's heroes and by laws a government can always extinct a family and confiscate it's property/riches.

There is one branch that refuses to comply however. Food production. No matter how evil and powerful Monsanto is, many choose to produce and many to buy real stuff produced with only classic ways instead of GMO. Expensive it is, but it has two highly important effects - it's quality over quantity and it saves jobs.

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December 11th, 2014, 15:29
Some of the metro trains are already on autopilot. No human input required.

How about a military robot? They are already developping a tech that could potentially replace some of the troops on the ground. It won't happen any time soon, but it is quite unsettling.
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December 11th, 2014, 16:40
This kind of debate always reminds me of the 1980s when I was a teen and reading the German (light) science mag called "PM" which always had visions for the future. Like how we'd all be driving in automated, self-driving cars by the year 2000(!) or how cities would be built under the ocean surface or how we'd fly to Mars by 2010 at the latest or how car production would be fully automated etc.
None of that ever happened to the extent that they predicted it mostly due to ever changing demands and economic inefficiency.

The same will probably apply to much of the above. I mostly agree with Pladio.
For example the drones… AFAIK Amazon is only planning to use them for delivery in remote rural regions.
Anything else would be pretty crazy in my opinion. The available airspace (classes C, D, E, F, G) in populated regions is cramped enough as it is. The last thing that is needed is to have drones populating that space as well. The risks for e.g. sailplanes (or other leisure aircraft) or police & SAR helicopters would be substantial. Not to mention the risk for the drones themselves and collisions with ground structures such as major landlines (electricity) which could lead to really bad fatal or costly accidents.
So the whole delivery drones thing will probably remain extremely niche for places like Bumfuck, Ohio but forget about it replacing delivery services in populated areas.

As for the industry/production, if you go back 30 years no one would have thought that the internet and IT would ever take off as it did. No one would have ever dreamed of smart phones or tablets. Or look at the biotech sector or renewable energy sources… whatever jobs are lost in the classic industrial sectors, there always seems to be a "next big thing" that workers and employees can switch to. Or to jobs related to (peripheral) services in those areas.
Now add to all that shrinking and aging populations (= less people at a working age, at least here in Western Europe) and I don't think there is much to worry about for the foreseeable future.
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December 11th, 2014, 16:53
How long will it take for some automatic program to take over your job of updating your original forum post?



(Sorry, could not resist.)
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December 11th, 2014, 16:57
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
This kind of debate always reminds me of the 1980s when I was a teen and reading the German (light) science mag called "PM" which always had visions for the future. Like how we'd all be driving in automated, self-driving cars by the year 2000(!) or how cities would be built under the ocean surface or how we'd fly to Mars by 2010 at the latest or how car production would be fully automated etc.
None of that ever happened to the extent that they predicted it mostly due to ever changing demands and economic inefficiency.

The same will probably apply to much of the above. I mostly agree with Pladio.
For example the drones… AFAIK Amazon is only planning to use them for delivery in remote rural regions.
Anything else would be pretty crazy in my opinion. The available airspace (classes C, D, E, F, G) in populated regions is cramped enough as it is. The last thing that is needed is to have drones populating that space as well. The risks for e.g. sailplanes (or other leisure aircraft) or police & SAR helicopters would be substantial. Not to mention the risk for the drones themselves and collisions with ground structures such as major landlines (electricity) which could lead to really bad fatal or costly accidents.
So the whole delivery drones thing will probably remain extremely niche for places like Bumfuck, Ohio but forget about it replacing delivery services in populated areas.

As for the industry/production, if you go back 30 years no one would have thought that the internet and IT would ever take off as it did. No one would have ever dreamed of smart phones or tablets. Or look at the biotech sector or renewable energy sources… whatever jobs are lost in the classic industrial sectors, there always seems to be a "next big thing" that workers and employees can switch to. Or to jobs related to (peripheral) services in those areas.
Now add to all that shrinking and aging populations (= less people at a working age, at least here in Western Europe) and I don't think there is much to worry about for the foreseeable future.
For highly populated areas you'd probably have delivery by self-driving cars instead of drones. There is a huge difference between now and 1980, because we have all the things I listed now, it did not exist in 1980, it was only "dreams", and technology is moving so much faster now compared to 1980 as well.

As for the jobs, you might not notice it as much in Germany or such, but Sweden is one of the countries in the world ( if not the country in the world ) which already has the lowest amount of so called "low-education" jobs, and our population is also increasing not decreasing. I think a large amount of jobs will move into things like taking care of elderly and health care and such, but you can also see how a lot of people that had "low-education" jobs and are older than 50-60 get stuck because they are too old for education and there is not enough "low-education" jobs.

Still we have only seen the beginning of this, the amount of jobs being replaced by machines is increasing fast, so it is actually important to start discussing like we are doing in this thread. A lot of good input so far.
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December 11th, 2014, 17:40
I'm less concerned about jobs that adults have that will disappear than jobs that teenagers have that will disappear. Capitalistic economies (generally) are largely adaptive. Free up a large amount of labor and some industry will figure out how to make use of it. Obviously that's a bit simplistic, but we've seen it time and time again over the last two centuries how people freak out about something (free trade, industrialization, automation, etc.) will destroy an industry and WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!? Sure there's some pain, but it always sorts itself out over time.

However, jobs for teenagers are a different matter. While obviously they have traditionally served a positive economic purpose, you can't forget the societal benefits of giving kids opportunities to work and earn. A traditional part-time, teenager job was the check out clerk. Its not high skill, but it teaches the values of work. As those jobs disappear, it gets harder and harder for kids to find jobs that will teach them these values and that has long term implications. Last summer I was talking to my cousin's kid who was 15 at the time. I asked him what kind of summer job he had. He had none. He did some odd jobs here and there, but he'd simply been unable to find any time of regular employment. I think that's a huge problem.

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December 11th, 2014, 18:57
People who work in chemical analysis labs have already felt this, and further reductions will probably happen. Where once you had a long line of workers performing different types of analysis, you now have a handful who oversee the machines. Obviously this is not true for all labs, there are still things that would be impractical to do for machines, but things that are easily automated (photospectrometrical analysis of water for an example) can easily be done by a machine.
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December 11th, 2014, 20:27
Of course, a lot of this will be replaced by design jobs as explained above, and also synthesis jobs where pieces of automation are combined / connected to solve new problems. Automation and software engineering, basically. We are already seeing this accelerating in engineering fields.

For a cool view of this recent future, check out this Hugo award winning novel:

Rainbow's End by the eminent Vernon Vinge
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December 11th, 2014, 20:55
Originally Posted by Moriendor View Post
If you go back 30 years (..) no one would have ever dreamed of smart phones or tablets.

"Mystery is important. To know everything, to know the whole truth, is dull. There is no magic in that. Magic is not knowing, magic is wondering about what and how and where." ~ Cortez, from The Longest Journey
Last edited by Arhu; December 11th, 2014 at 21:10.
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December 11th, 2014, 21:40
In 20 years, most kids will be inheriting their parents retirement index fund investments so society will turn into a bunch of lazy people.

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December 11th, 2014, 22:58
Most of this is sensationalism, technology is not that powerful. 3D printing for instance is very limited. Self-driving cars are mostly empty hype that Google uses to look "edgy" and look cool to venture capitalists to get their money, and a terrible mess of a multitude of legal problems that cannot possibly all align together. I was reading an article on Slashdot about this a while ago.

What will really happen is that technology will occupy a modern part of the modern workforce but it will be used by these workers in conjunction with these jobs.

The shrinking of valuable middle class jobs is real though and is the big problem, but I think it won't be as much a problem when peak oil gets more serious and economies are not as globalized.

Low grade service jobs are not getting anywhere and this is why they are booming because it is impossible to get a machine to do complex, improvised manipulations.

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December 11th, 2014, 23:10
Originally Posted by Humanity has risen! View Post
Most of this is sensationalism, technology is not that powerful. 3D printing for instance is very limited. Self-driving cars are mostly empty hype that Google uses to look "edgy" and look cool to venture capitalists to get their money, and a terrible mess of a multitude of legal problems that cannot possibly all align together. I was reading an article on Slashdot about this a while ago.
I have a buddy that works at google and has done some work on those cars. Based on what he has told me, I don't think they are empty hype at all. There are very good economic benefits to driverless cars too. In addition to the potential for reduced accidents, they have the potential to greatly increase the traffic density on roads without causing the congestion. That has the potential to save trillions of infrastructure expansion over the next 50 years.

The shrinking of valuable middle class jobs is real though and is the big problem, but I think it won't be as much a problem when peak oil gets more serious and economies are not as globalized.
I agree with the first part of that, but couldn't disagree more with the second. We are no where near peak oil. The US actually produces MORE oil than it uses now and that's only going to get bigger as shale and sand tar oil extraction techniques improve. Add in ever increasing effeciency of oil using processes and machines and the so called 'peak oil' won't be hit in our lifetimes.

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December 11th, 2014, 23:18
Google is able to make a prototype that can run in a nice California road where they leave them alone, but add the various innumerable complexities that driving entails, add problems like who is responsible in case of an accident or dangerous situation, add things like cold climates with snow, ice, potholes, and you have something of a mind-boggling complexity worse than the Tower of Babel. Sorry, but in your dreams.

Oil was interesting because it could be extracted with very little energy and effort. When it costs more to extract it it is not as beneficial. This is why peak oil was already passed a long while ago.

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December 11th, 2014, 23:28
Originally Posted by Humanity has risen! View Post
Google is able to make a prototype that can run in a nice California road where they leave them alone, but add the various innumerable complexities that driving entails, add problems like who is responsible in case of an accident or dangerous situation, add things like cold climates with snow, ice, potholes, and you have something of a mind-boggling complexity worse than the Tower of Babel. Sorry, but in your dreams.
Every single one of those issues can be solved. Laws are easily changed to assign liability (its your car, you're liable). We already have cars that apply the breaks if you are about to hit something, that warn you if something is in your blind spot, etc. Computers are in fact much better equipped to handle things like snow, ice, potholes, etc. because they can react quicker and more rationally than a person.

Will we have these cars in the next year? Certainly not, but its insane to think that the technology won't be available in 10-20 years, especially give how far they've come in the past 5. Consumer demand will definitely drive it too. Anyone with a decent commute would much rather sit back and relax, reading a book or watching video, than deal with the stress of driving.

I think the transition period will involve cars with full manual modes that are only allowed to be on auto in certain areas (like HOV lanes), but it will eventually grow out of that. It solves so many problems facing major cities, there's virtually no way we won't keep pushing towards it.


Oil was interesting because it could be extracted with very little energy and effort. When it costs more to extract it it is not as beneficial. This is why peak oil was already passed a long while ago.
Then why are oil prices back in the 60's, but economic growth hasn't subsided? Getting oil from hard to reach places is tough at first, but like all things, the cost goes down in time. Peak oil is nothing but a myth and scare tactic.

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