The employment rate in times of pandemic is an unpredictable factor. Everyone knows that it collapses and will collapse, but in some states there are measures that perhaps do not allow us to focus on the situation.
The reality is this: Thousands of jobs are unlikely to ever return. Because many companies will close, cut or reinvent themselves. A May 2020 study by the Becker Friedman Institute predicted that 42% of the jobs that will disappear from the pandemic will be permanent.
In addition to fewer jobs in some sectors, others were at risk long before Covid-19.
An example of disappeared jobs to understand the jobs that will disappear: in 1950, the job of elevator operator was among the hundreds of careers listed in the census. That job is now extinct, the only one in the last 50 years to die at the hands of automation. The next half-century may be less lenient.
AI, robotics, automation and other megatrends threaten countless categories. Many economists predict that automation, not outsourcing, will lead to the loss of millions of jobs that will disappear in the manufacturing sector.
Many of the jobs most likely to disappear are among those obtainable with a simple high school diploma. Jobs with low barriers to education are what robots are likely to eventually do.
Here's a look at high-risk careers that are likely to disappear within 50 years.
The (certainly, gradual) advent of autonomous vehicles will cancel millions of jobs. Few will be hit harder than taxi drivers, due to competition from not only driverless vehicles, but also ridesharing apps like Uber.
A study suggests that many taxi drivers will be forced to give up and become Uber drivers themselves.
Mail picker, courier and employee
In the "cemetery" of the jobs that will disappear, the taxi driver will also be joined by mail sorters, couriers and postal employees. Over the past 10 years, these positions have lost more than a quarter of the workforce. Email, AI-based collection systems, Hub Locker and self-employed couriers in the future will accelerate this trend.
Competition from automatic piloting software was already in the dock since 2016. Such systems will give human pilots a hard time. Autopilot features have long supported pilots in flight. We are at the point where pilots can only take control of aircraft during take-off and landing. In the next 50 years, probably sooner (for the sake of "terrible brackets" like that of the Boeing 737 Max) both humans and goods will soon be transported on unmanned aircraft.
Debt collection, tax collector
Few people would feel the lack of bill collectors and accounting agents, such as those who show up to press those who don't pay within certain deadlines. Increased software and automation capable of performing the same task will sooner or later give a fatal blow to the category.
Surveyor and cartographic technician
Although some positions in the field require advanced education, most surveyors can only enter this specialized profession with a high school diploma. That option, however, will soon be out of the question as robotics and other technological advancements make their skills obsolete.
Part of your bill will likely include the salary cost of someone walking around neighborhoods reading meters. Soon, simple and inexpensive smart devices (smart meters and even storage systems) will make that walk and work no longer necessary.
Job insecurity will soon become a reality for millions of drivers of all types, thanks largely to automation and the increase in driverless vehicles. Among the toughest and probably the hardest hit will be bus drivers. Self-driving electric buses are already a reality being tested in several European cities.
The lunatics promoting the comeback of the coal industry may also tell unemployed Blockbuster employees that movie rental shops are about to reopen. Pure science fiction. Today, technology does most of the work. Tomorrow, coal will collapse as the world adopts cleaner energy sources.
There was a time when printers organized individual letters for each page of a publication before it went to print. The technology eliminated that work and ushered in the era of the prepress technician, who oversees materials before presses start running. Thanks to the most sophisticated publishing software, however, the situation has changed once again and this industry (already in crisis of its own) will lose half of its jobs in 10 years.
Fast food worker
Fast food restaurants are essentially assembly lines, and just as robots are starting to dominate assembly lines that churn out engines, so too will those churning out burgers and fries. Little more to add about the works that will disappear, the consequences are easily imaginable.
The Guardian has recently called truckers "the last human beings left in the modern supply chain". They are also the last of an endangered race. The largest auto and tech companies are pouring billions of euros and dollars into the emerging industry driverless vehicles and truck drivers are clearly in the sights of the coming revolution.
The Daily Star recently predicted that giant leaps in artificial intelligence will lead to robots and computers to get European football referees fired from their jobs by 2030. Today it sounds sensational, and maybe we will go further (and not at all levels). The fact is that perfectly accurate systems for replacing referees will be available very soon, not just in football.
When shopping for flowers, consumers are now much more likely to turn to a website or their local grocery store than their local florist. The downward trend for florists is so severe that the industry has lost tens of thousands of jobs over the past 10 years.
Other jobs that will disappear, these in particular before others. Few jobs are more at risk than telemarketing. Highly repetitive work is a perfect target for machines. And machines, of course, could bother us much worse than humans.
Air traffic controller
Like the old lighthouse keepers, air traffic controllers have long been headlights for pilots, helping them find their destination airport and guiding them along their way. This guide, however, has already been replaced with automation and it certainly won't be 50 years before control towers without people become a reality.
Humanity will always depend on agriculture, but the farmers who have been doing agricultural work for millennia have already been replaced by things like automatic weeders, fruit pickers, control drones and vineyard pruners. Later on, the field of machines will be increasingly extended.
Self-ordering tabletop kiosks are already available in many restaurants. Yet the standard protocol of placing an order verbally with a human waiter is still the standard catering protocol. This trend, however, will change as AI improves to the point where robots can act as a link between diners and the kitchen.
Interpreter or translator
Machine translation has been in development for more than half a century. For a long time, translators thought they were safe because computers could never learn to understand and capture the nuances of language, including accents, dialects and secondary meanings of words. Well, those computers are almost there and the machine translation industry is a billion dollar industry. We already know the next step.
People have been bypassing cashiers and using ATMs for decades to make withdrawals, check balances, and deposit checks and cash. The rise of mobile banking apps has further reduced the relevance of the human cashier. Smaller branches, featured technology, contactless technologies, and even digital currencies will deliver bank tellers to the annals of history.
Cashier of shops
Many grocery stores already have self-checkout aisles that allow customers to pay on their own. If you add mobile apps that allow you to pay on your phone even while in a brick and mortar store it becomes clear that the person behind the cash register may not have a job for much longer.
The financial sector is already rocked by the rise of fintech and robo-advisors, automated platforms that use sophisticated algorithms and real-time information to offer tailored investment advice.
All of this comes at much lower costs than hiring a professional financial advisor, whose advice is subject to both bias and human error. Artificial intelligence hasn't made the financial advisor obsolete yet, but the future is here and time is running out.
Experts already expect many jobs that will disappear in the field of jewelry. Online shopping above all among the causes of the phenomenon. Not only are jewelers disappearing, but fewer people take their jewelry for repair, for example. This paints a bleak picture for the role.
Among the works that will disappear within 50 years, one that already has a fairytale: that of the woodcutter. Soon, it will probably no longer be done by humans. The work of timber harvesting is now largely carried out by efficient and highly technical machines. Which should, however, calm down.
The rise of electronic toll payment systems such as Telepass has made the work of toll takers more and more archaic. 50 years from now, the concept of handing cash out of a car window to a person in a cab will be a distant memory.
Librarians don't want to hear that their work is in mortal danger, but it is. A myriad of devices and technologies related to books, as well as universal search tools like the familiar Google, librarians (and even libraries, alas) are becoming fewer and fewer.
Once listed among the most unassailable jobs on Earth, computer programmers wrote the codes that drove the machines that changed the world. Unfortunately, those machines are now so good at their jobs that they will likely soon have the ability to do the work of the same men and women who gave them their lives in the first place.
It becomes clearer with each new technology update that pilots will not be the only employees in flight facing change. As early as 2012, the Skybot automated bartender was on planes to help flight attendants carry drinks to passengers. By 2016, Pepper could already remember each passenger's flight information, accept requests, provide information on connecting flights, and wander the aisles while his human colleagues had to be buckled into their seats.
That leap took place in just four years: imagine what the next 50 will reserve, the jobs that will disappear (and those that will be born) in the meantime.
Gianluca Riccio, born in 1975, is the creative director of an advertising agency, copywriter and journalist. He is affiliated with Italian Institute for the Future, World Future Society and H +, Network of Italian Transhumanists. Since 2006 he directs Futuroprossimo.it, the Italian resource of Futurology.
Futuroprossimo.it is an Italian resource of futurology opened since 2006: every day news about the near future. Scientific discoveries, medical research, prototypes, concepts and predictions about the future for free.
Gianluca Riccio, copywriter and journalist - Born in 1975, he is the creative director of an advertising agency, he is affiliated with the Italian Institute for the Future, World Future Society and H +, Network of Italian Transhumanists.