A machine can often do in seconds what would take a person hours – but what are the implications of this for employment in the future? These 6 jobs are all at risk of becoming a thing of the past.
1. Check out cashiers: Nearly every supermarket now offers the option of self checkout, and more of us than ever are scanning our own shopping, rather than accepting the help of the cashier. While we might still need help with the “unexpected items in the bagging area”, this can be easily achieved with one or two members of staff, rather than the traditional rows of manned tills.
2. Union organisers: Historically, many people were members of their trade union, and relied on it to support them in times of difficulty at work. These days, the reduction in manufacturing and the outsourcing of manual labour to cheaper foreign workers means that union membership is on the decline. Soon, there will be no unions left for the union leaders to organise.
3. Post men and women: In this era of emails, instant messages and video conferencing, the good old pen and paper method of communication is fast becoming redundant. With less letters being posted, less staff are needed to deliver them. In 2011, the US Post Office laid off 120,000 employees.
4. Librarians: Where the students of years gone by had to spend hours in the library poring over books to complete their homework, the modern learner can access a world of information at their fingertips, via the internet. As libraries are used less and less, so the numbers of people who work in them will reduce.
5. Bank tellers: Our wages are paid automatically into our bank accounts, our bills go out by electronic standing order, and we can check our balance at any time on our phone or laptop. With all this technology assisting us in our financial affairs, how many of us really need to visit a person behind a counter in a bank any more?
6. Pop stars: Despite the popularity of shows like X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, it could be that the next big thing won’t be a human singer or band, but a computer generated star. In Japan, a girl band created another member for themselves, and it was only after she had appeared on a magazine cover that it was revealed she was a CGI celeb.
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