The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us, and we’re now hearing lots of talk about the number of jobs that will apparently be lost to automation…but what about my job?
I don’t believe there’s a single industry that won’t be affected by increased automation, as more and more tasks are already being augmented by AI and decision-making machines. But does this really mean we’ll all be out of work, or will our roles simply evolve into something new?
There will always be data
A previous colleague once said to me ‘there will always be data’ and that, as a database administrator, I would always be employed. At the time, I agreed with this wholeheartedly but, after the creation of new DBaaS systems that monitor themselves and make decisions about how to stay healthy, the time I spent extending tablespaces and monitoring performance began to decrease every day. Did anybody still need DBAs?
It struck me that this issue was no different to those experienced by my ancestors during all three of the previous Industrial Revolutions, when huge numbers of jobs were replaced or reinvented by machines, then electricity and mass production, and finally by digitization and the explosion of available data. It felt to me like the change I was witnessing was inevitable, and if I didn’t embrace it as all the hard-working farmers, factory workers and businesspeople before me did, I’d be left behind.
A difficult choice
With that in mind I had a difficult choice to make; should I stick with what I know and potentially end up out of work, or should I embrace the change, leave my comfort zone and learn the skills needed to adapt to this fast-moving sector?
As you may have guessed, I decided to do the latter and successfully rode the wave of change washing over my industry. I realized that, while a lot of jobs no longer existed in their original forms after each Industrial Revolution, they hadn’t actually gone away; they had simply evolved into something more valuable, fulfilling or interesting to both companies and their employees. Taking my cue from history, when the chance came up for me to work at Level, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands!
I am now a Cloud Services Architect working with the latest Cloud technologies to design and build Level’s state-of-the-art Cognitive AI platform. And, of course, I have come full circle; the technology that I’m working on today will inevitably change – and create – many job roles, hopefully for the better.
Throughout history, revolutionary technology has always brought with it the threat of job losses but, when all is said and done, we will always need people, and people will always be able to find work. Children being born today will likely do jobs that haven’t yet been invented – society will adapt, and the workforce must embrace the change and not fear being out of their comfort zone.
As for me, my post-revolutionary role at Level still takes me out of my comfort zone on a daily basis but, luckily, I prefer it that way!