There is a widespread fear these days that the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning advancements will announce an end to numerous existing jobs. The primary example of this phenomenon is self-driving cars and trucks that can put millions of people associated with transportation industry out of work and that includes not only drivers but several other careers as well. It seems that there are dark times ahead for even many kinds of skilled workforce.
In my opinion, these claims are true only to a little extent. If we look back at the history of civilizations, and take no help from the arrow of time, one could claim (and I don’t know how many would have ascertained this) the following.
- The rise of agricultural age would have left most hunter-gatherers ‘jobless’ and sent them into extinction. We know that it never happened. On the contrary, with plenty of food available, the hunter-gatherers actually found time to master other skills with the overall result of mankind’s phenomenal progress towards more stable societies.
- The rise of industrial age would have put farmers out of work. In reality, it was an exploration time and humans engaged into much deeper scientific and philosophical discoveries that were way beyond the basic needs of producing or arranging food for the society.
- Similarly the information age even with something as advanced as the Internet didn’t render the factory workers useless. Many kept the work they were doing and many developed other skills to enter into jobs that never existed before.
So yes, many jobs will be affected by the rise of the machines but there will be so much new stuff to do we even don’t know about yet. The basic rule is still the same: a person with reasonable level of creativity can survive and weather any storm. He might in fact excel into new found opportunities, as being creative and honing your skills is the key for progress during any era.