The Robots are Coming for Your Job

The Robots are Coming for Your Job

Jobs will get fewer, much fewer than the number of both home bred and imported certificates chasing them. Neither the paper quality, the name of the issuing institution nor the field of study on it will give the bearer an edge in the death race for jobs of the future. As the prospects of getting into the available job opportunities dims, the prospect of remaining relevant and retaining the existing job positions dims too. Thank to the robots.

In one era, such hallowed pieces of paper had so much power. Kings respected them. Whoever had them stood out like a star and had many waiting opportunities in the job market. In fact, the jobs pursued them. Parents sold their prized possessions so that their children could get one. Folks with no benefactors toughed it out through fire to get one. There was always a consolation in one form or the other waiting for a school certificate bearer.

However, that era has passed, and except for a few, no one seemed to notice. Everything else has changed except the quest to get educational certificates and to hunt for jobs. But that is not the problem. The problem is not that the government is incapable of creating these jobs. It is not that the present day graduates are no better than their illiterate counterparts in job creation.  It is that the good old days aren’t coming back. Not even something close to it.

The jobs are not coming back.

Let’s face it. We will always look forward to the next release of the iPhone, and expect the next smartphone from Samsung to do more wonders than its predecessors. If it allows us to surf around the world right in our palms, chat and whine away our time with friends, threat ourselves to some nice musical tunes, and  play some mind blowing games, that’s dope. For the slightly weird ones, if the phone can point at a person and the person reduces to the size of a gnat instantly, that will be more fun, and more exciting. The bigger the wonders the better they are, an ever present companion to humans.

What about the cost?

Who cares? A part of us quietly approves of buying them expensive and wishes the price to be sky high. That way it puts you conspicuously far ahead of your peers in swag and status rating.

Furthermore, hospitals, industries and our homes are not left out. We want everything around us to be mind-blowing and smart. We crave the easy life where we spend little human effort and achieve the most results.  Cost matters very little as long as we receive our heart desires whole right inside our palms. .

But there are heart-rending consequences.

Our thirst for the good and easy life leaves Toyota, Nokia, Apple, Samsung, the tech giants and manufactures of those sleek and shiny smart thingamajigs we crave with a heavy task. They jostle to meet up with our unending yearnings and expectations. Each wants their products to have better features. Each yearns for higher human approval rating. And each of these companies wants to outsmart the others and lead the pack. As much as we don’t care about the prices they do care. They care about the cost of feeding us fat on those gadgets. Their utmost desire is to bring it down as much as possible; the lower the cost, the higher their profit. They are going for cheap labor, and embracing every means that helps them meet this target. They are not looking at the side of the humans any more for this kind of labor.

The droids, the apps, the machines, Artificial intelligence, the burgs, and those fancy shinny ensembles of ambidextrous arms called robots have the answers. Most times they appear like human look alikes. Their presence thrills us and the amount of extra abilities they give to the humans amazes us. We fail to notice how gradually our ability to control slips from our grip. They take the burdens off of our shoulders and leave us with heavier ones in disguise.

They are timely, more accurate, and faster than their human makers; and most importantly they don’t charge wages and salaries.   One robot, humanoid, droid, app, whatever you call it, can displace thousands of humans in one subtle swoop. Technology has become us and we have become technology. The robots make this union more seamless like the Siamese twins. Our soaring thirst for the good life and hunger for those fancy gadgets we carry about fuel their existence.

The bots are taking over.

Who will hire a human to do the repetitive and drudge work of sorting and fetching items in a warehouse? Amazon for one won’t.  The robots are in Amazon warehouses fetching items. Alibaba has thousands of them too. In the hospitals they now read MRIs. They walk around in restaurants and recreational facilities in ‘excitement’, warmly saying ‘hi’ and ‘welcome’ to the humans and taking orders and packing luggage. They even shop online, place orders and have their goods delivered. Did I forget to mention that they are doing a computationally intensive research to find a cure for cancer? The examples can go on and on.

One day you will relax to read and enjoy your favorite blog posts on this forum. You will feel the same flare and finesse you have known the author with, and hear a familiar voice speaking to your soul, and making the usual emotional connections you are used to. And in the end you will meet a shocking postscript that reads: ” a robot wrote this article” (Lol).

Edward D.Hess in one of his articles calls it the “Robot tsunami’. In this era the blame for not creating jobs will no longer be on the government. Be ready to blame and say those harsh words to the robots. I hope a line or two in the program controlling them will grant them the uncanny human ability to listen, understand and possibly sympathize.

“The jobs aren’t coming back,” said Steve Jobs. 

The bots, like an army of locusts, devour and ravage every job position they lay their scrawny fingers on. In their wake they leave permanent damage.  Once they have conquered a territory, with their heads high in pride, they definitely move for the next job in their radar. Without control or break, they will match on until all human jobs are ‘terminated’ and a flag is hosted high announcing the era of robots.  That’s is hypothetical thought. They will monitor the traffics, sell food at restaurants, administer justice, teach in classrooms, perform critical surgeries in the hospitals and answer you when you call the customer care line of your service providers. With Artificial intelligence and data mining technologies, their possibilities are limitless.

My greatest fear is that one day they will enter the police and army to check human ‘excesses’ for which they will have no humanity  to tolerate nor the empathy to understand and show mercy. That’s funny and a bit scary. But the reality is very much close to that.

Finally, unemployment in the world and especially third world countries like Nigeria, had sunk so low over the years. It has come to the red alert line. Nigerians seem unaware of this like the rest of the underdeveloped world.

That the bots are coming for the available job positions even makes it worse.

The over 300,000 robots working in Japanese factories are actually doing jobs humans once did.  The world is fast getting automated. Processes are getting done smartly by apps and Artificial intelligence based techniques.

The trend of the events of the future shows that this situation will get worse. In the end those who succeed in creating a job for themselves and others will remain in business.

According to research by Carl Frey and Michael Osborne, 67% of the US workforce is at risk of losing their job forever to robots in a few years from now.  A disease that makes US sneeze will kill Africa in their numbers.

Those jobs with repetitive activities, which do not require the ability to perceive and adapt to subtle changes, or engage on an emotional level with other people are in the robot’s plan for destruction in a few years to come. You find these jobs in manufacturing, packaging, construction, and agriculture.

But jobs in the sciences, engineering, arts, health care, law and business management will be at low risk of takeover by robots. That is if the prediction of Car Frey and his co researcher holds true in the years to come.

So what can you do?

Quit chasing certificate and hoping on the government to create jobs. Develop yourself and get a skill instead. Create a job and own it. Build up your skills and begin to channel them into finding solutions to critical problems of our time well ahead of the robots. In the job adverts of the future, humans may need not to apply. They will need to be retrofitted with some chips and programs to stand a chance of competing in the same job market with a robot.  When you own the job, you have some control over whether the bots will take it or not.

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