The rise of robotics, automation, and AI has been raising questions about the jobs for the future. Hence, we are concerned about the career future at the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Often, we ponder about the good future jobs we pursue to develop the best career for the future. Guess or luck is not good enough to seek jobs that will be in demand. Besides, the gross deviation of prediction of the future of jobs reports makes career selection even more difficult. Therefore, to increase the prediction accuracy about professions of the future, we need to pay attention to the underlying cause of the transformation of jobs.
The underlying new technology cores have already started fueling waves of innovations. Like the past three industrial revolutions, these Innovation waves will cause destruction to existing products, jobs, firms, and industries. Subsequently, they will also create new jobs and firms. At the inflection point of this transformation, we face uncertainty about how creative destruction shapes the future of work, particularly in employment and skill requirements. Moreover, projections of massive job loss threat by universities, think tanks and international consultancies have also created a fear factor. On the other hand, there is also a belief that the future of work will be brighter like the past. There will be more jobs and also better-quality jobs. The future of work will relieve us from tedious, monotonous, and physically stressful jobs. Those jobs will also offer us more pay than ever before.
Both two schools of thought have arguments in favor of them. Nevertheless, they cannot agree. The debate about the future of work is yet to conclude. However, the future of work will highly be influenced by the nature of unfolding innovation waves of creative destruction. However, to drive those waves, a set of technologies should keep progressing. One of them is Humanoid to reshape the future of work in the service sector. This article reviews some past waves and envisions future Waves of Innovation to shed merit in the debate of future work.
Underlying cause of the uncertainty of jobs for the future
Prior to setting up a corporate R&D lab by GE, in 1899, there were no R&D jobs for scientists and engineers in corporate America. Similarly, there were no jobs for Ph.D degree holders in the South Korean industry in the 1960s. Technologies have been transforming jobs of the future. In addition to automating tasks, the journey of economic prosperity out of technology has the driver of creating great future jobs. Hence, jobs available in the future will largely be determined by the complexity of pursuing technologies and how they change the human-machine frontier affecting jobs of the future.
For example, the advancement of automating knowledge and high-end skills in manufacturing has killed the jobs of artisans. However, this technological progress has enabled the unskilled workforce eligible for factory jobs. Besides, R&D needs to advance technology for automation has created high-paying R&D jobs for scientists and engineers. Furthermore, the growing role of technology in fueling and transforming economic prosperity and competitiveness has created jobs for technology policy, management, and innovation.
The changing role of technology and uncertainty of progress make extrapolation and opinion-based predictions about jobs that will be available in the future erroneous. For example, still 1950, jobs requiring Codified knowledge, such as how to solve mathematical equations, were immune to technology. However, the rapid advancement of computers and software has turned it quite the opposite. Unlike in the past, software has made it quite easy to automate jobs requiring the application of codified knowledge and skills. On the other hand, this journey has created great jobs for computer scientists and engineers. Hence, to find answers about great future jobs or future professions., we should look into technology innovation dynamics, unleashing creative destruction.
Prediction and deviation about the future of jobs
According to the Future of jobs report 2023 by the World Economic Forum, the human-machine frontier shifted just by 1 percent over 4 years, reaching 34 percent of jobs done by machines today (Nov 2023). No way such progress will lead to as high as 50 percent Jobs to be done by machine by 2025, as predicted by a survey before 2020. Hence, respondents in the 2023 survey have lowered their guesses for future automation. They expect to predict that 42 percent of business tasks will be automated by 2027. After a few years, will they change their target for future jobs again?
Such a gross contradiction and moving targets make an opinion survey-based approach in predicting the future of jobs unreliable for planning future careers. Hence, we need to go to the basic dynamics underlying the shifting of the human-machine frontier in work, shaping the future of jobs. Otherwise, jobs in demand in the next 10 years will be highly difficult to predict, which is extremely relevant to preparing students for the profession of the future.
AI uncertainty makes the prediction of the future of jobs in demand challenging
In the Future of Jobs Report 2020, AI was predicted to replace 85 million jobs worldwide by 2025. Perhaps, as of Nov 2023, there has been no strong sign in favor of it. Hence, there has been a change in expectations. Instead of replacement, the expected role of AI has been downgraded to augmenting, not automating, human workers. Hence, predictions are being made of job creation by AI and AI skills demand by businesses.
Does it mean that AI is not capable of replacing jobs at all? If they do in the future, will we change our expectations again about the implication of AI on future jobs? Perhaps this approach does not appear to be sound enough to predict jobs that will exist in the future. Hence, we should go back to the basics of AI technology core and its implication on powering creative destruction waves, transforming future jobs and careers.
AI uncertainty is one of the underlying causes of high deviations in the future of job prediction. Notably, the early demonstration of AI automation has been failing to keep momentum to unleash creative destruction waves within the extrapolated time frame.
Creative waves of destruction drive progression and shape good future jobs
Human beings have an innate tendency to get jobs done better at less cost while having more comfort. To meet it, they develop ideas by feeding knowledge into their inherent creative process. They use those ideas to recreate existing means for Getting jobs done better. Market Economy thinkers observed it, and they wanted to capitalize it to drive prosperity. Subsequently, they adopted principles for encouraging freedom of thinking and pursuing ideas. Profit-making incentives for offering higher quality products at lower cost through ideas are at the core of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs are always hunting for ideas. Some of those ideas form new technology core to create a new wave of innovation. Instead of improving existing products, they focus on innovating substitution.
For example, Thomas Alva Edition pursued an electric light bulb instead of recreating an oil lamp to offer a better version. Similarly, as opposed to designing a better keyboard for smartphones, Steve Jobs pursued the idea of keyboard-less design. Such a journey of pursuing ideas for substitution around alternative technology core leads to the formation of innovation waves of creative destruction. Despite primitive emergence at the beginning, some of them grow to offer a better alternative at a lower cost. Some of the technologies powering creative waves of destruction of robotics are worth monitoring.
Switching of demand determines how creative destruction shapes your future jobs
Subsequently, the switching of demand from incumbent products to emerging substitution destroys jobs associated with the production, distribution, and consumption of products around the previous technology core. For example, the uprising of the automobile destroyed jobs for making horse wagons, horseshoes, and horse breeding. However, the new wave also creates jobs. Obviously, they are of different types requiring different capabilities. For example, automobiles created jobs for making an internal combustion engine as opposed to breeding horses.
Unfolding waves of creative destruction are at the core of offering us better means to get our jobs done better. Due to this effect, our quality of life keeps improving. But as the next innovation is quite different from the previous wave, we experience job loss and creation. Hence, we face transformation and uncertainty. To address it, we need to monitor and predict the next waves of innovation having creative destruction potential. However, not all innovations form waves having the possibility of causing destruction to demand of existing products, jobs, and also skills,
A creative wave of steam engine shaped jobs in the first industrial revolution
Before the invention of the steam engine, the power of muscle, wind, and water used to be the sources of energy. To increase the source of energy, human beings domesticated animals. Human beings had to perform arduous work in delivering energy to productive activities. For example, they used to rotate wheels with their muscle power. The steam engine innovations emerged to take that energy-providing role. They kept growing as creative destruction. Subsequently, humans were relieved from providing energy, and they were given the role of making, fueling, and operating steam engine machinery. Due to the uprising of those innovations, the quality and cost of products kept falling. Subsequently, demand kept increasing. Consequently, it led to the demand for human engagement, but for performing less tedious jobs. Innovation waves powered by steam engines caused destruction to previous jobs and subsequently offered higher quality, more jobs to human beings.
Transformation of jobs during the second industrial revolution
Like the first one, the second industrial revolution progressed with the unfolding of s series of creative waves of destruction. Several newly emerged technology cores fueled those innovation waves. The internal combustion engine, electricity, electric motors, and telephone were notable ones. Among several innovation waves, the internal combustion engine-powered the innovation wave of automobiles. The creative destruction force of automobiles recreated the transportation industry. It also created many supporting industries, including petroleum. Similarly, creative waves of light bulbs, airplanes, and radios brought transformational changes in the job market. Particularly, job division and specialization, with the support of streamlining production processes, create demand for low-skilled workers for manufacturing. In fact, the nature of forming and unfolding an innovation wave affects the transformation of jobs and shapes the future of work.
Artificially intelligent machines like to power creative destruction, shaping the future jobs
At the dawn of the fourth industrial revolution, we are in an uncertain state about the future of work. To bring clarity, we should detect technology cores and their capability of fueling waves of innovation having destruction abilities. They are called Disruptive technologies. Sensors, microprocessors, algorithms, and wireless connections are forming a new technology core. Of course, this technology core has the capability to fuel innovations. For example, adaptive cruise control in an automobile is an innovation based on this technology. Similarly, robots’ ability to sense and perceive to deal with variations is an example. Obviously, they will change the nature of work. But will they grow as a force of creative destruction? For example, will we succeed in having fully autonomous driving capability to destroy the jobs of driving? Of course, there are uncertainties.
Nonetheless, some trends are visible. For example, labor reduction in all major productive activities has been taking place due to machines’ increasing intelligence capability. As a result, the nature of work has been changing. In many productive activities, machines have taken the central role of production while offering a supporting role to humans. This trend is likely to continue. However, the complexity in building human-like Innate abilities in machines will slow down the progression of deploying intelligent machines.
Battery, motor, and renewable energy form a technology core
Battery and motor are forming a new technology core. Once they are linked with renewable energy, even a stronger technology core is formed. The batter-motor technology core is fueling the electric vehicle innovation wave. This innovation wave can cause creative destruction to the internal combustion engine (ICE) and labor-based value addition in the automobile sector. For example, once battery and motor grow as a better substitute to IC, demand for ICE will evaporate. Subsequently, the jobs for making some automobile components will be destroyed. In addition to it, the jobs associated with maintaining and repairing ICE will also diminish. As a replacement, there will be jobs for making batteries, motors, and electronics. But they will demand different skills. Moreover, they will demand far less labor due to high-level automation.
In addition to it, there is a trend that renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power, will become a cheaper alternative to produce electricity. The uprising of these two waves has the potential to cause destruction to the global oil industry.
Unmanned aerial vehicles to shape the future jobs in farming
So far farming is based on human labor, animal energy, and mechanical machinery. So far, farming practices have been suffering from a lack of precision in sensing, perception, and decision-making. Subsequently, it is leading to imprecise actions like the variable distribution of farming inputs like fertilizer, pesticides, and water. The development of low-cost, compact sensors, software, onboard computers, and communication capability is forming a technology core around unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). These UAVs are loaded with sensors, software, and farming inputs. While flying over the farmland, they keep producing a detailed map of fertility, crop health, and pest attacks. Subsequently, based on that intelligence, they precisely distribute needed inputs.
It’s expected that this innovation will keep growing and unfolding as a force of creative destruction. Along with the offering of better means of farming, this innovation wave will also reduce the demand for manual and mechanical machinery for the distribution of inputs. Subsequently, there will be a change in the future of work for farming. There will be new jobs for innovating and operating new means of getting farming jobs done better.
How to predict how creative destruction shapes your career future
In fact, due to the inherent urge to have a better quality of life, human beings are after a relentless journey of producing ideas. Those ideas have been unfolding as innovation for offering us better means in getting our jobs done. Some of those ideas are forming new technology core and fueling the uprising of a creative wave of destruction. Due to these creative destructions, transformations take place. Consequentially, the nature of work keeps changing. To have better clarity about the future of work, we should study the unfolding of past creative destructions and their implications on the nature of work. In addition to it, we should keep monitoring the formation and growth of emerging technology cores.
Ultimately, we should keep monitoring and predicting unfolding waves of creative destruction. To sum up, we should predict how creative destruction shapes the future of work. For example, the premature retirement of Honda’s ASIMO will slow down likely transformation in the service sector.