When I began this post I was wrong; I started using the idea of jobs in twenty century and without seeking for the future. This argument led me to address this issue like a change in the occupations, the main statement was “if technology advances some jobs will become obsolete and new ones crop up”. Based on this statement the thinks should be like when horse-drawn diligence drivers were substituted by train drivers, following this today is the turn of drone pilots.

However an in-depth analysis of technology made me to erase the post and restart it. Question in future is not what jobs would be substituted; question is what large change involve the technological revolution which we are experiencing.

Technology

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Historically, technological advances had allowed to change one jobs for others, for example if gasoline beats carbon, people started to work on refineries instead of carbon mines; in the same way if cars substituted bicycles it would be an increasing number of mechanics workshops instead of bicycle shops. This was in this way because technology advanced slowly in first developments steps.

In our days, technology advances quickly, automatisms are highly optimized; there are cash dispensers, automatic petrol stations, buys on the internet (amazon even use robots to send their orders). All of these mechanizations produce a loss of job positions; machine practically always is winning the match against people.

The paradox of domestic laborer and radiologist

It seems that a high qualification job is more stable from mechanization than other with less qualification. In contrast this example extracted from the book of Federico Pistono Robots will steal your job…, illustrate that this is not always true.

An specialist on radiologist needs many years of study in order to achieve the experience and the skills needed to analyze the x-rays. A computer program can study x-rays using image recognition software. Once suitable software is designed computers can achieve the experience of hundreds of medical doctors in a very insignificant period of time compared with the career of a radiologist. If you do not believe in power of recognition software, please try the google image searching service.

Radiologist job is not safe, what happens with domestic laborer? Would it be easier to make a robot able to clean our house including the more inaccessible corners for 12 €/hour? Of course it is more difficult.

Technology is very advanced and it is going to substitute many jobs, this can be one of the root causes not covered of actual crisis* in our social system. However there are companies which do not use technology despite it is profitable because job destruction makes them more damage than benefits of technology. What good is having a huge supermarkets chain if you are creating myseri and you are going to run out of customers?

It seems that I am against technological advances but this is not true. Really I think that progress has much more advantages than drawbacks. It improves quality of life since it searches solutions for great problems like illness, environmental problems or the fossil fuel crisis.

Machines can do mechanic works, but humans can think…

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Despite previous paradox, it seems that technological evolution is going to have a bigger impact in manual works than others. Mechanical work bubble does not estate yet, and when it will state we have to be ready. First step it will be needed to change the social model, if manual work is going to be substituted they will be needed other ways to allow people to contribute to society for winning their salaries. It is possible that an evolution of the classic idea of job will be needed.

A large proportion of manual work is going to be substituted, but humans also know how ways of think create and imagine. Using the classic idea of job, jobs which require these skills will continue. Can machines overcome humans thinking? Question is not that, question is when? This fact is called technological singularity, there are different views about when it is going to happen, more optimistic opinions says that it will be near 2030, other scientist say that it is more probably near 2050.

Using classic idea of job, jobs which involve creativity, design and art will be the better jobs in future. Betting on I+D lots of problems can be solved, this approach is not exclusive for experimental sciences, other topics can be investigated like the analysis of history in order to not repeat historical mistakes, something like Asimov’s Foundation.

Environment solutions

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It is clear that human is unbalancing environment. This way can let us to the destruction of planet. In this field, technology can help to find solutions. Boost the speed of technological advance by increasing people who are working on these solutions will be positive for this cause.

Languages

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Actually, one of more useful skills is languages. The knowledge of different language can open doors to many jobs. Technological advances can make this situation different in only few years. Actually we have translation tools but they are still in stage of upgrading. Perhaps in a short period of time this tools will be improved and their use will become common.

In this step of development study language will be only a cultural activity used for personal enrichment.

 The wisest can not know all the answers, but he knows where to find them

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An interesting ability on the future will be the skill of searching and interpreting information. In the age of information the wisest is who can find the answers, because the wisest never has all of them. In our days the big data of information let us the option of find practically all of the answers, but you need to know how to search.

Conclusion

Technology is not a problem, it is always the solution. Mechanization of work can increase unemployment which can be a future problem. A good solution could be betting on I+D in order to find solutions to global problems. This solution also can employ the high qualified people which does not have actually job.  Other long-time solution could be a change of mentality and the classic job definition.

There is a trend for demonize capitalism and great companies, this trend reduce powerful people to people moved only by the interest. Perhaps it is not always true, but having this statement such as true it is important to not forget that companies need costumers to subsist. What good is being a millionaire in a world in misery, without any technical advance? It is not better to invest part of wealth on investigation and this way make a better world for all of us including oneself? Some innovations can save lives, even most powerful people can get sick and money has not any value in a devastated world.

Bibliography and notes

To know more about this topic is recommended to read these books of Fernando TrĂ­as de Bes (only available in Spanish) and Federico Pistono (available in English).

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*crisis: A crisis is not a black hole. It is a determinate turning point where it is necessary a change but it is not the end. It is not the death is like when you have to pick you up after a fall.