Executive Director and Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute, Thomas Frey estimates that by 2030, 50 billion jobs will disappear due to advances in automation and technology. Thomas Frey is a revered revolutionary thinker, engineer and designer with over 270 awards to his name. He is a past member of the Triple Nine Society (high IQ community over 99.9th percentile (an IQ of around 145). He has headlined alongside Presidents, Prime Ministers, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mohammad Yunus, the World Bank President James Wolfensohn and many other esteemed intelligentsia so if anyone is qualified to discuss the future of employment it is Thomas Frey.
According to Mr Frey, the 5 industries most at risk of massive change are:
Power Industry Changes
Community awareness about environmental issues and long term health is putting pressure on the industry to find better, less harmful ways of doing things. Mr Frey has insider knowledge and believes new technologies are on the way which will see the industry reform from the inside. National grids will become micro-grids so power can be distributed from a single home to whole cities. Dangling criss-crossing power-lines will be no more.
Car Industry Changes
In the not too distant future (within the next 10 years) cars will become driverless and will even transport groceries and packages on your behalf. Mr Frey predicts initially it will be an option only for the wealthy, before eventually becoming a safety feature demanded by the government to reduce the road toll. One can only wonder who will be blamed if one of these cars crashes, the company, the user? (The law profession will have a whole new area of law to play with when this technology is unleashed full-scale).
The advent of free education is upon us with numerous websites offering university level courses free online for download. MIT began the craze by filming lectures and posting them online for free downloading. Khan Academy joined the trend offering over 2,400 courses free. The newest addition is Apple iTunes U (no it’s not a new music platform, though it really sounds like it) which delivers free access to over 500,000 courses from 1000 different universities. This all means that we are moving away from a teaching model to a learning one. In the future we won’t need to sit in a lecture hall anymore to receive the necessary information; rather we will access it in the privacy of our own home for free.
3D printing technology will take the power out of producers’ hands and place it in consumers as 3D printing allows a person to manufacture hundreds of thousands of things cheaply, even shoes, clothing, car engines and houses and so much more. This will completely undermine economies of scale and bring about massive changes perhaps as monumental as the transition from the Industrialist era to capitalism. In any case it can only mean good things for the little people as it will stop the stranglehold of major conglomerates on local markets meaning we may see a move back towards originality and flair in products as more small businesses and up and coming companies stand a chance of competing with the heavy-hitters. So instead of only same-same chain stores in every major shopping centre as we do today, we may actually get some variety in the future.
Call of Duty may just be a videogame, but the futuristic robotics it showcases is pretty close to the mark. Boston Dynamics’ BigDog robot is being developed to aid troops in combat, acting as an autonomous drone unit that will carry gear for troops. Mr Frey predicts that in the future almost every physically demanding task will be carried out by robots. Skynet is coming for real this time…
So What Do We Make of All This?
Well, the only things we know for certain are:
Technology will change our lives dramatically. It will close down many industries and make job roles extinct, but it will also create many more jobs and create high demand in existing jobs. For example, personal trainers will be in high demand as we get lazier, fatter and dumbed down as technology does most things on our behalf.
Highly, technically skilled jobs will be hugely in demand to create all these newer technologies, manage them and operate them as low-skilled jobs will be displaced.
The major problem will be ensuring that as a society we do not allow our low-skilled, low-level workers to fall through the cracks as we sail ahead into the future with all our fancy tech. Not everyone has the smarts to be an IT genius or engineer, so what will happen to the less intelligent among us?
Let us hope our leaders will have enough foresight and courage to steer us calmly into the age of technology and make the most of the advances on offer for all of humanity, not just the privileged few.