We’re in the midst of a technological revolution right now and there are a lot of questions about how it will impact the future. There is no doubt that things like artificial intelligence and automation software will completely change the way that the world works, but what we don’t know yet is exactly how. There are a lot of people that take a dim view of the future and warn of huge job shortages when AI takes over everything. But others say that is an oversimplified view and even though new technology may take over some jobs, it will also create others, so it’s not all doom and gloom and it could actually improve our lives in some ways. We’re already seeing the impact of new technology on the job market in some ways, but the idea of a robot workforce taking all of the jobs is still quite far off. However, one piece of technology that is likely to have a more immediate effect is autonomous cars.
Autonomous car technology has been developing incredibly quickly over the last few years and it moved from a futuristic concept to a reality in a short space of time. The price point is still a barrier for a lot of people but there are more and more autonomous cars on the road and most new cars have at least some self-driving features. Governments around the world are starting to put legislation in place to deal with self driving cars because they’re going to be the norm soon enough. But that is likely to have a big impact on a lot of different areas of industry. These are the careers that are likely to be changed by the introduction of autonomous cars.
The most obvious area that is going to be affected is delivery driving. There are plenty of people out there that drive for a living, but what happens when they aren’t needed anymore? Things like food delivery drivers, for example, won’t be necessary anymore. Automation has already made it easier for people to order food online on their phones without needing a person to man the phones, and it probably won’t be long before the delivery driver is removed from the equation as well. Long haul delivery drivers might keep their jobs for a bit longer because they will need somebody to charge and maintain cars along the way. But as soon as the battery life improves, they will be likely to lose their jobs as well.
There is also the potential that standard supermarkets could go out of the window if automated delivery becomes the norm. You won’t be restricted by the driver, so people can just order a few items from the supermarket whenever they like. But even though it might sound like a lot of jobs will be lost, this increase in deliveries may also contribute to the job market. Big online retailers like Amazon employ huge numbers of people in their warehouses to package and ship out deliveries, and if more deliveries go out, that means more jobs in the warehouses. That means that the jobs won’t necessarily be lost in the delivery industry, but they will be shifted towards the packing end, rather than the driving. However, there are other issues around warehousing jobs and robots have their role to play there as well, so there is a chance that jobs could be lost there too.
Most people would react badly to the idea of autonomous aircraft because of fears about their safety. But commercial aircraft are already autonomous to a large extent and the pilot is only in full control during the takeoff and landing. But they are not autonomous in the same way as cars because they will simply follow the flight path until it is changed, and they can’t make decisions for themselves. The universities that offer flight training still get plenty of people signing up for their courses because planes still need a pilot to take over if the flight path needs to be changed. But the initial changes are already beginning to take place in the aviation industry.
The first step is a move toward single pilot flights, and that is already being discussed. But the move to a flight without any pilots is a little more complicated and it’s likely to depend on the passengers. Only time will tell whether people will be comfortable going on a plane that has no pilot.
Taxis have already been changed a lot by technology in the last decade. The introduction of Uber gave people an easier way to book taxis, which were often cheaper. It was also one of the most instrumental companies in the rise of the gig economy, soon to be followed by companies like Deliveroo. It gave people an easy way of finding quick work as a taxi driver, and most people thought that the traditional taxi was gone for good. But Uber has recently lost its license to operate in London due to safety concerns, so it is unclear exactly what the future of taxis will look like.
Autonomous cars could cause a lot of disruption to that industry as well because they may change the way that car ownership works. At the moment, you drive your car to work and then it sits there for 8 hours until you are ready to drive it home again. But if the car was autonomous, what’s stopping it going to pick somebody else up once it has dropped you off? There is a possibility that car ownership will be a thing of the past and instead you will pay a subscription for use of a car when you need it or use an Uber like app to order a car when you need a lift. If that was the case, taxis would be a thing of the past and those jobs are not as likely to be replaced.
People often say that autonomous cars are going to eliminate all driving jobs and leave lots of people out of work. But there is a lot more to it than that. There are a lot of careers that will be rendered obsolete by autonomous vehicles but new jobs will be created in different areas of those industries as well, so the future isn’t as bleak as you might think.