Humans Need Not Apply: How the Future of Work Will Belong To Bots

by Tallulah on August 25, 2014

This video recently went viral because of its frightening prediction and depiction of the future of work—a future that will inevitably belong to robots.

At least that’s what YouTube video creator CGP Grey forebodes in this 15-minute clip where he suggests this familiar sci-fi premise will start to to look more science than fiction.

Now if you’re skeptical or idealistic, don’t worry –you’re not alone. But Grey makes some solid arguments backed by recent scientific studies on the topic condensed in this video. Suspend belief for just a moment, and let’s humor his thesis…

“Humans Are The New Horses”

Grey argues that as automobiles replaced horses, so will self-driving cars kick humans out of the driver’s seat—and this is happening sooner than you might think. But the most shocking stat shared was the speed in how artificial intelligence could begin to outpace, and outplace, human labor: In 20 years, humans could eventually lose almost half of all current jobs to automation.

This unprecedented jobs loss could result in a 45% unemployment crisis, which will dwarf the unemployment rate of the Great Depression that crippled the U.S. economy at just 25%.

Even White-Collar Work Isn’t Safe From The Takeover

Although tech innovation has historically threatened only low-skilled labor, white-collar workers aren’t exempted, but actually targeted. Grey makes the case:

“Given that white-collar workers are—from a company’s perspective—both more expensive and more numerous, the incentive to automate their work is greater than low skilled work.”

He warns that even lawyers, writers, artists and general doctors are not safe from the auto takeover. In fact, occupations and talents thought of as uniquely human—like composing music—are already being performed by bots, today.

Without Enough Human Labor, Will There Still Be Human Capital?

If this grim future unfolds, hiring managers and recruiters will find themselves in a unique position—front seats to witness the possible meltdown of human labor as we know it. But will there still be perhaps a need for specialized hiring managers?

Imagine recruiters who could evaluate competing brands of hardware and software  automation that come to market and will need to match competing, advanced A.I. with the skills and working culture of the remaining human staff. Maybe there’s a way to evolve our expertise and coexist.

Or will we really, in two decades, cap off our job descriptions with “Humans Need Not Apply”?

Before you stock up on highly-specialized skills for the coming Martrix-like dystopia, read some idealistic rebuttals to this doomsday scenario if you haven’t already, and rest assured that your job is safe…for now.

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