Hello, and welcome back to The Brown Parachute Club. I hope you enjoyed last week’s article on Networking. I did go to the Networking Event I referenced in the article and had a good time meeting folks and swapping business/networking cards. There were quite a few folks in our age group, so that was inspiring I guess. If they’re in the same boat we are, they’re all unemployed and trying to put a good face on things.

But I digress. I have decided that this week’s article is going to be about Automation. For many people (unions, lawyers, and politicians), it is the REAL Elephant in the Room! After every economic downturn, the politicians all claim “We’ll bring those jobs back!” What if there are no jobs to bring back? I’m reminded of that song by Bruce Springsteen, My Hometown.

Now Main Street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores
Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more
They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks
Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back

That last line is what ran through my head as I was thinking about this article. Jobs are going and they’re not coming back. No matter what any politician says. The Age of Automation and the Rise of the Robots is upon us and we’d better wake up to that fact.

From 1760 – 1840, the Industrial Revolution destroyed jobs. But it also helped to create many as well. Hopefully, the upcoming Terminator Invasion will leave more behind than the corpses of jobs formerly done by humans. Hopefully, those corpses will be reborn as new jobs, done by humans! By using Science Fiction as our guide, it certainly doesn’t paint a rosy future for us humans. We may be turned into batteries, as shown in The Matrix, or like in The Terminator, we might be hunted mercilessly, as SkyNet becomes “Self-Aware”! Just kidding, or am I?

An article from the PBS NewsHour website states that by 2025, roughly 1/3 of the jobs in this country will be replaced by “Smart Robots”. This isn’t only factory and manufacturing jobs. That’s been going on for years. These “Smart Robots” will take over office, medical, legal, and financial analysis jobs as well. Wonderful. Good thing I got that Accounting Degree.

However, all may not be lost in our battle with the Titans! On the website, they have a list of Robot-Proof Jobs. Jobs they feel won’t be replaced by C3PO. They found out that there is actually only a small percentage of jobs that are “100% Automatable”. They also include a list of “0% Automatable” jobs. Some of these are Dancers, Clergy, Sports Athletes, and Working with Animals. I guess they figure Fluffy and Rover might be spooked by a robot.

Greg Gutfeld from Fox News is always talking about the “Robot Apocalypse”. A lot of it is tongue-in-cheek, but he brings up some good points. Mostly, he feels that people are not taking the threat to the job market seriously.

Then there are the bizarre legal issues popping up around all of these “Robot Workers”. Lawyers are claiming these “workers” must have their “rights” protected. Unions are saying that they’re okay with robots, as long as there is a human worker “supervising”. Really? The unions are terrified their rank and file may be replaced by an army of robot workers. An army with no political agenda or the ability (or reason to) pay dues!

Yep, it’s going to be a “Brave New World”. But the big question is, where do we fit in? If robots have taken all our jobs, what do we do? Movies always create a Utopian view, like in I, Robot. Naturally, it all hits the fan, and Will Smith has to save the day. But what if it doesn’t hit the fan? What if robots manage to take over all of the menial, manufacturing, and some not-so-menial jobs? What do we do with all our free time and more importantly, how do we make money? That’s the BIG QUESTION!

Like the Industrial Revolution, it could be that all of this technology is bringing us bigger and better things. However, if we lose the ability to work in this new world, what happens then? Unemployment rates of 80-90-100%? A world-wide Depression that never ends? At least we’ll all have plenty of company in the unemployment line.

The challenge becomes, “How do I prepare for, and thrive in the new robotic future?” With almost total unemployment, how are WE supposed to survive? The obsolete workers that have already been tossed into the scrap heap.

According to an article in Business Insider, there are jobs that will survive the Robot Revolution. Of course, that article could be way off. We have no way of knowing. I guess from my standpoint, I’m just looking for a job that will bring in money this week, this month, and hopefully, this year. When I was driving for Uber and Lyft, I saw the handwriting on the wall when it came to self-driving cars. I knew I would only be driving for a few years before I was replaced by a robot. Much earlier than most workers.

I’m sorry to paint such a gloomy picture, but I wanted you to be aware of what’s coming. It’s not just Age Discrimination we’re fighting, but possibly robots that look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Be on the lookout!

If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!

3 thoughts on “Automation

  1. Jerry, great job bringing up the “elephant in the room”. I am constantly seeing more and more about robotics and AI. Yet most colleagues seem oblivious to the topic. We have time, we may have UBI (universal basic income), but it is definitely something that needs much greater attention and energy.

    1. I know what you mean. It’s the old, “Everyone is asking if we can, but nobody is asking if we should” scenario. Besides, most of the countries are broke, so where is the UBI going to come from? I don’t see this ending well.

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