The Future of Jobs

We've talked about the future of freelance before, so why not the future of jobs in general? Technology is moving at an accelerated pace. In fact, it’s moving so fast that experts believe that within the next twenty years nearly half of current jobs will become automated. Usually, when a job becomes outdated new ones spring up (like a power loom repairman) around the new technology. The problem is that that doesn’t seem to be happening anymore.

What’s Changed?

Well, the short answer is technology. The long answer is that people have underestimated at how good we are at bending machines to our will. When regular cellular phones were starting to take off, nobody could imagine that in ten years everybody would have a supercomputer in their pocket.

The idea of what a computer can do has also changed. During the early days of programming, the general idea of computers was that they could only perform simple menial tasks. The most obvious example being factory jobs. A robotic arm can do the same job as a human but with less errors and cheaper.

However, things changed after the rise of machine learning and deep learning. Machine learning is basically a program that can teach itself if you just feed it enough data. It can make connections without somebody having to program into it what it should .This was demonstrated by google when they applied a machine learning algorithm to youtube and it figured out (by itself) what a cat was. The Future Of Work (1)

Should I Fear This Harbinger of Cats?

No, but you should be prepared and marvel at the interesting and exciting things that are springing up from this technology. Recent winners of a Nvidia start up contest have used deep learning in a very creative way and received 100 thousand dollars for their efforts. Artomix (the name of the startup) has successfully used machine learning to automatically make video game backgrounds.

They fed the machine a bunch of background art and programmed it to create art that was similar to what it received. This means that companies are able to save money (and labor) when creating a lot of variations of the same background. I know that it sounds a bit scary that even creative jobs may be on the line. But I’d like for you to think of the opportunities!

Imagine if everybody had access to this technology! Imagine a single person being able to create marvelous and complex things because of the tools this technology creates!

What Do I Do?

Well, I’m on the same boat as you. Some day a machine might learn how to write (which seems more and more likely) and I’m out of a  job. That doesn’t mean I’m going to change. If my job does end up becoming obsolete, well, at least there's still freelancing. You could considering preparing for this future by taking a loot at the best guide to become a freelancer.