Is Technology Eliminating Jobs?

Aug 23 2018

Technology advancing to change the job market isn’t a new concept. In fact, the idea of technology eliminating jobs has been around and has happened multiple times throughout history. Each time that society is confronted with new technology being used to complete tasks, a fear of workers losing their jobs or jobs being eliminated often occurs. Causing stress to individuals who feel as though they will no longer be able to make a living, or be limited in how much they can make as technology or machines are replacing them at a fast past. But rather than looking at business innovation in a negative light, society should look at how it’s evolving businesses to become more safe, cost-efficient and even competitive, while as well creating jobs that require a different skill set than previously.


History Repeating Itself: Technology Eliminating Jobs And Creating Jobs

The fear of technology eliminating jobs is not a new one. In fact, as previously mentioned, its been a fear that has reoccurred time and time again. If it wasn’t when factory workers were widely replaced with machines to increase productivity, new equipment being adopted by farmers to allow them to harvest crops at a faster pace, or even, self-checkout options being implemented at grocery and department stores, technology has always been noted to be disrupting the workplace.


While many may only focus on the workers who were displaced, it’s as well important to focus on the fact that new jobs that were directly related to the technology that was adopted did surface. The only thing is, these jobs often require new skills or knowledge. So while factory workers may have been replaced with machines, individuals will still be needed to not only create and monitor the machines, but service them so they can continuously function. Showing that while the idea of technology eliminating jobs or greatly changing the position of a factory worker is true, the technology can as well create new jobs that simply require workers to have a different skill set than previously.


Additionally, it’s worth noting that in some cases, a human will in theory always be necessary. Not only do machines and technology need human maintenance or servicing, but some will always need human reviews to ensure accuracy. An example of this is how a tech company in San Francisco implemented automation software to pull their revenue from different zip codes but the software still required a human to check the final report. This came from the inability of the software knowing how to react to certain overlapping zip codes in San Francisco and San Jose. Proving that while machine work will largely dominate some positions, a human entity and overview is still necessary to catch unforeseen problems and maintain them.


Benefits Of New Technology

As previously discussed, there are many benefits that come with adopting new innovative technologies. Firstly, as many can assume, new technology and software can be cost-effective for many businesses to implement. Especially when the job is labour intensive or repetitive. Meaning, if a machine is programmed to do it, it can essentially be able to perform the task faster and more accurately than a human. Saving the company money as more work will be completed in a shorter duration of time.


Second, there is a competitive quality that comes with new technology. Mainly because if your competition is using new innovative tools to become faster, more productive and more cost-efficient, they in theory, will be able to grow faster than you. Possibility, even taking your customers or region. So by staying on top of new technology, your business can, in theory, stay more competitive and out-perform competitors.  


Lastly, while there are many benefits that businesses can use to justify adopting new technology, one worth mentioning is how new technology can help improve working conditions for many labour intensive jobs. Specifically, how companies are leveraging technology eliminating jobs to benefit their employees by improving the safety of job sites. As machines that can be programmed or controlled from a distance is being used to take employees out of ‘dull, dirty and dangerous careers’.


What Does This Mean For The Future?

While it’s hard to predict what will happen in the future, it’s important not only for businesses to know when and how to implement new technology, but for employees to as well understand how their roles may shift. Allowing for a complete understanding of how new tools can benefit and change the job market will give many individuals the opportunity to follow these trends and use them to their advantage rather than feeling displaced by it. So as they see their businesses adopting technology to improve their bottom line, employees can take the appropriate steps to grow in relation to it.

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