Woolworths, I join the self-service checkout queue to pay for my shopping.
interaction (‘How’s your day?’) when I shop. I am happy to scan and pack
my own shopping.
undermining a cashier’s job at Woolworths. A self-service machine can work for
hours (days?) without a break and doesn’t require sick leave, annual or
overtime. One staff member supervises five self-serve machines at my Woolies.
are a relatively new addition to the artificial intelligence that underpins the
reduced requirement for human beings to facilitate work tasks.
upon among other things, artificial intelligence (people who purchased X
also purchased……). I’ve been a very satisfied Amazon customer for about
seven years and I’ve never had an interaction with a single person at Amazon.
take our ‘new reality’ for granted as we rapidly move away from interacting
with our fellow humans. How many times have you physically visited a bank in
the past five years? Do you frequently marvel at the ease of paying bills and
transacting online compared to the way our parents paid bills and undertook
their banking? I doubt it. It’s completely normal now.
before Netflix announced they were
going to be open for business in Australia in March next year
experience of interacting with another human to rent a movie, a TV series or a
documentary will be a quaint memory for ninety per cent of Australians.
every person reading this blog, yet I’m sure the
reaction to the headline
commonly seen last week Up to
500,000 jobs threatened by rise of robots, artificial intelligence: report was, for the same readers, one of faint alarm.
other similar) headline(s) was the release of the inaugural Australian Industry Report 2014
published by the Department of Industry, Office of the Chief Economist (the
role is currently held by Mark Cully). The report looks at a range of economic
forces that will drive the need for structural changes in various aspects of
the Australian economy over the medium term.
‘… the report finds that
occupations most at risk of computerisation are those that involve routine
tasks, such as bank tellers, clerks, bookkeepers and even highly qualified
roles such as pharmacists – 78.6 per cent of whom have at least a bachelor’s
“A tertiary education,
therefore, does not guarantee a safeguard against automation,” Mr Cully
said in the report.
A widely-quoted Oxford Martin
School study published last year estimated that about 47 per cent of all US
jobs are at
risk of computerisation, many of them in sectors needing high-level skills, wages and
By contrast, Mr Cully said some
of the safest jobs were those that did not require advanced education –
including truck drivers, electricians and waiters.
Asked what jobs young
Australians should train for, Mr Cully said it was more important to get good
schooling – whether through an apprenticeship or university – than target any
particular sector . “We don’t
know what the future holds,” he said in an interview on Tuesday. (my
opinion. The market for jobs is changing so rapidly that the importance of a
very sound foundation education is very important. As the report articulates,
the current high salaries for various jobs are not any guarantee that these
jobs won’t be computerised out of existence. In fact, high salaries create a
greater incentive to find a computerised solution that is cheaper, faster and
more reliable. As an example, driverless trucks have
recently been introduced into West Australian mines to replace expensive
remarked upon my Mr Cully (or if he did say anything of this nature, it wasn’t
reported), and that’s the importance of making a habit of life-long learning,
especially outside any traditional place of formal learning.
and/or self-initiated learning via reading, coaching, mentoring, short courses
etc has never been more important.
(you could argue that future is already here) is the ability to learn, and
unlearn just as quickly.
upon it, otherwise your job is at serious risk from a Dalek.