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These 10 Jobs Will Fade Away in 15 Years Due to Technology

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In the our previous article The Future of Jobs: What Will Happen in 20 Years?, we had an overview of what the future might look like in the workforce.

We know that automation will replace around 50% of the workforce, but we also know that jobs will not disappear. Instead, they'll be transformed into new ones with different skillsets and abilities.

But in the last article, we didn't discuss which industries would see a complete reduction of their workforce – or at least a reduction of their current employee base. Not only will this change be forced by automation and progress, but its acceleration is directly related to the current pandemic that is affecting every single country in the world. Automation is necessary for protection and safety.

For this article, we're going to look at what jobs will become almost completely automated, and how they will disappear altogether.

As we said before, we need a global response to start adapting our workforce for the future. This means teaching and educating our younger generations for the jobs that will be necessary for the next 20 years.

Here's our take on the 10 industries that will become almost 100% automated within the next 15 years.

1 - Farmers

1 - Farmers

Back in the day, farming was the biggest industry in the world when talking about employment numbers. Before machinery was applied in large-scale agriculture, there were thousands of manual labor working the fields, planting seeds, harvesting crops, and transporting goods.

This has dramatically changed. Even nowadays, you might be surprised to know that, on a macro level, automation in farming has become the norm.

More specifically, trained workers operate heavy machinery, maintain automated watering systems, and regulate atmospheric measure devices interconnected through Wi-Fi. We measure fields with drones, we have genetically modified seeds that resist almost everything, and machinery takes care of planting and harvesting.

In the future, driverless trucks will be in charge of transportation. We can say that, in the underdeveloped parts of the world, this will not change for now. But as we advance technologically, they will also embrace these changes.

In the next 20 years, being a farmer will be highly ranked. The concentration of power will make it so “farmers” are just a few managers of land. Even today, we can see that almost every large-scale food and beverage production is controlled by the same 10 companies. And the trend will keep going in that direction.

2 - Drivers

2 - Drivers

The transportation industry will change dramatically over the next 10 years. Automation will reach trucks, cars, delivery, farming machinery, taxis, ubers–you name it.

Self-driving vehicles will change the dynamics of this industry. In the USA alone, this translates to the employment of 14 million people, 10 of whom are drivers.

This industry will be one of the first to change. Drivers across the world will need to adapt to new positions available. Why? Because the technology is on its way to impacting the industry.

The German government has already instilled an automation plan for self-driving trucks. Technology will be fine-tuned and set across the world within the next years. In Switzerland, for example, the company Bestmile is at the forefront of mobility automation.

In the future, self-driving cars will be like getting on an elevator. You press a button to input your destination. Then you're off. In this scenario, the hope is that traffic accidents will also become something of the past. But truck drivers and taxi drivers will have to start looking at other possibilities.

3 - Cashiers

3 - Cashiers

Cashiers are going to become a job of the past–and it'll happen before we know it.

We know that self-checkout stations have problems. We know that people still need to supervise them.

But with the rise of digitalization and e-commerce platforms, we are soon going to completely automate this process. Amazon runs a “human-free” store in which you can walk in, grab anything you want to buy, and walk out. Even the smallest supermarkets have a self-checkout system. The trend will only continue to move in that direction.

Sensors are evermore specific. Digitalization of currency will become the new normal. Everything points out to the disappearance of these jobs in the not-so-distant future.

Not only in supermarkets, but in fast-food restaurants as well. We now have fast-food restaurants in Japan with robot waiters that take your order and give you food! And in Switzerland, the supermarket chain Migros develops automatic self-checkout services for the entire region.

4 - Postal Service Workers

4 - Postal Service Workers

It is not surprising that the postal service industry will disappear.

Digitalization and environmental consciousness has shifted this particular line of work. Remember when you sent a letter and didn’t know if it had arrived? If the other person would respond? Whether or not you'd receive their reply in your mailbox?

Well, this is all going to be part of the past very soon. Drones delivering mail will become the new workers for essential mailings. But digitalization will almost entirely replace this industry on the whole with online forms, electronic signatures, emails, and sensitive documents that use encryption technology.

The postal service industry is the fastest-disappearing job in the USA, and the rest of the world will follow.

5 - Travel Agents

5 - Travel Agents

Even though this industry has been in a constant decline for the past 20 years, there are still thousands of operational travel agencies across the globe.

Some people still prefer working with another human who'll arrange their business trip or vacation. But in reality, with Skyscanner and Google Flights taking over travel arrangements, and Airbnb taking care of accommodations, and even smartphone-integrated apps that can book you a hotel over voice command, this industry will see a decrease of workers by over 90% in the next 5 years.

In the past, travel agents were essential. But this shift is accelerating more and more with the pandemic. Even nowadays younger generations have never heard of this job, and that tendency will only increase as digitalization and AI become more advanced.

It used to be that travel agents would be able to find exclusive deals for their clients. Now everyone has access to algorithms that'll help them find the best price on any flight–within seconds.

6 - Manufacturing Workers

6 - Manufacturing Workers

In the past, when the Industrial Revolution changed the world, people working in the fields moved to cities in order to work in factories. A whole new job industry was created.

But this industry is under change. In fact, it has been for the past 20 years.

People-building machines that build machines will make humans almost obsolete in the future for this line of work. There will still be humans in charge of controlling the factories and making sure the machines don’t break.

But the reality is that the vast majority of the workforce will have to switch to another type of work and learn new skills. Instead of factory workers, we will have hundreds of software engineers controlling how machines are made.

Imagine how cars were made 50 years ago versus today. You can imagine what will happen in the short future for the base of the workforce. It will be necessary to guarantee new training and skill development if we want a smooth transition towards a full technological factory.

7 - The Army

7 - The Army

The military is probably the most innovative industry in the world. Technology is encouraged and funded by governments in order to improve their militaristic capabilities.

Before, wars were won based on the size of one's army. Now technology rules the field. Sometimes you don’t even need humans to win a war.

Self-driving planes, drones and tanks are being controlled by a leader sitting in their chais from across the world. This industry encourages change. Still, the world will need to adapt and teach people in the army new skills to transform and reduce the size of armies.

Even in countries like Switzerland where military service is obligatory, the training received will be very different than that of 20 years ago. The number of soldiers in the world will keep decreasing as technology becomes the main weapon for countries to win a war.

There will always be a big workforce in the army. But that number will drastically reduce over the years. “Soldiers” will be skilled people in technology and high-skill professionals.

8 - Telemarketers

8 -  Telemarketers

The telemarketing industry is being taken over by online ads.

Algorithms that understand the chance of a person buying a product are already present in our everyday lives. This is what will become the new normal.

No more people calling your phone for a “special offer”. No more blocking numbers because we are tired of people spamming us.

Online ads will become the new telemarketing as we become more embedded with technology and the internet. The effectiveness of these algorithms will surpass the best salesman in the world.

Within the next 5 years, we will be able to see a decrease in these positions and an increase in “support IT positions.” Indeed, there will be a complete shift from this workforce to another line of work.

9 - Accountants & Tax Advisors

9 - Accountants & Tax Advisors

If there's one thing we’ve learned so far from this list, it's that a lot of jobs will be taken over by algorithms.

So what’s the role of an accountant?

To go through your raw data and organize it.

And that’s the most basic task of any algorithms–that’s where they shine!

There are already highly sophisticated artificial intelligences that would get the job done perfectly. This piece of software would pay for itself in under two years! That’s why AI engineers are going to change the dynamics of the workforce when people have to file their taxes or organize their finances.

We will still have accountants focusing on business. But in a general sense, this type of job will be replaced by algorithms and machine learning software.

10 - Stock Traders

10 - Stock Traders

Despite the movie industry showing us hundreds of people on the phone pushing stocks all day, the reality is that stock trading in movies is not real.

A study done by Bloomberg analysts discovered that only 10% of the stocks traded on a daily basis worldwide are traded by actual humans and investors. This study was performed years ago, so imagine how machine learning and AI will transform the industry in the next 5 years.

The main competition amongst investment hedge funds is not for people, but for technology and algorithms. The Wolf of Wall Street scene of "the perfect salesman" has been replaced by a perfect machine.

Nowadays, with the rise of trading platforms, you can even mimic the activity of a “top investor” to manage your own investments. These top investors are actually bots that have access to information before any human does.

Imagine this scenario.

You go to your favorite trading platform or secure portfolio management dashboard. You fill in the info with how much you want to buy of a stock at a trading price. Then you hit “buy”.

In the time it takes for the operation to reach servers and approve the order, the bots have already realized you’re going to purchase that stock. They buy it for themselves, trade it between themselves, and then sell it to you at a bigger price.

Welcome to the world of micro-trading ruled by AI.

While this article might be painting a dark picture for the future of several industries, its intention is to clarify that jobs won’t be destroyed. Rather, they'll be transformed.

Mitigating problems will come with new training, skill development, and adaptation.

Throughout history, many jobs have become obsolete, and new jobs have arisen as a result.

We cannot go against change, but we can commit to having a smooth transition towards jobs of the future. It is on the leaders of businesses and industries to understand that avoiding change will only generate inequality and delay the necessary steps we need to take for a better future.

Even though these jobs might not exist in the next 20 years, transformation with technology and digitization is necessary. It will only benefit us if we strive towards making the most of it.

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