Letter to the Editor

Future jobs: The rise of machine learning

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Through numerous technological advancements, machines have become smarter. It is said that in 2020, the capability of machines can be comparable to the computing speed of the human brain. Aside from this, it has been possible to train machines to learn additional information through prediction of patterns, such as what we see in computer algorithms that perform automated tasks (e.g. auto-tagging photos, storing passwords, and other artificial intelligence applications).

The Fall

of Repetitive Labor

What does this imply for the human workforce? If machines can learn to do automated tasks, what does this say for the employees who perform menial labor work, such as assembling products, calculating mathematical data, and other repetitive work? Could it be the fall of this type of labor force?

Unfortunately, this is a highly likely probability. As machines are more reliable, easy-to-maintain and affordable than their human counterparts, it is more likely that business owners will opt to hire machines instead of humans when it comes to repetitive jobs. However, this isn't all bad news for the human workforce. In fact, it can create a new era of jobs that will not only boost the morale of the human employee, but also hone their skills to more specialized jobs.

The Future

of Career Paths

Although repetitive jobs are slowly fading from the picture, the good news is that there are many other jobs on the rise that cannot be replaced by machines. These include specialized jobs in science, arts, information technology and computing. Although machines can learn and relearn information, none of these algorithms can spark creativity, critical thinking and specialization.

How to prepare

1. Choosing education that teaches a specialized field

We can see the changes in the job market by looking into what businesses hire. Right now, we can see this gradual shift as fewer companies hire humans to perform automated tasks. These include store checkout services, phone or online customer service, and the rise of e-commerce. More entrepreneurs and business owners have looked into the conveniences of automating services through digital means. This implies that the future generation should consider a highly specialized field of learning, such as web development or scientific research. These fields cannot easily be replaced by computers, as they need a combination of several complex skills that require a human output.

2. Marketing one's creativity

Another aspect of humans that cannot be replaced by computers is creativity. Even if computers can learn and relearn patterns based on prior data inputs, it is quite difficult for them to think of new ideas. Machines do what they are told to do, and that's it. To survive a changing job landscape, students and aspiring employees should market their creativity in order to gain an edge on their competitors. As an entrepreneur, one can look into providing creative products or services in order to enhance sales.

3. Being equipped through STEM Training

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Although technology is rapidly evolving throughout the years, it is appalling to know that there is a lack of training for specialized skills in these four primary areas. For the younger generation to be prepared for the changing job market, one must be open to learning more about topics in these four fields. Data Analysts, Medical Researchers, and Renewable Energy Engineers are just a few of the jobs which will be highly demanded in the years to come.

4. Learning complex computer literacy skills

There will come a time when computer literacy skills will not just be an add-on skill, but already a requirement. As computers, machines and artificial intelligence have slowly positioned themselves inside the business of our daily lives, many people will find themselves being pressured to know more about how to operate them. Students can acquire skills about computers and technology that can also land them a steady income. Computer literacy skills will not only be something of convenience for the future generations but will also be a main industry with in-demand jobs.

5. Finding a niche with a human touch

If you don't prefer to go with the flow, you can always choose to go against the tide. There are some careers which can be difficult for computers to replace. These include jobs that involve human inspiration and socialization such as performing arts, law enforcement, medicine, and social work. We as humans still need each other to function, and to say that all jobs can be replaced by machine is synonymous to disregarding our knowledge and skills to be superior to the things we create.

The only way to see the positive end of this change is through continuous adaptation. For future generations to thrive in their respective career paths, they should also be fully aware of ever-changing job trends.

Noelle Neff is an aspiring journalist and accomplished photographer who specializes in new technology and its impact on our daily lives. She lives in Coral Gables, Fla.

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