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LostInParadise's avatar

Is the nature of employment changing?

Asked by LostInParadise (29895points) November 4th, 2009

I found this article on my favorite liberal (progressive?) Web site saying that office workers at all levels are gradually being replaced by computers in the same way that manufacturing jobs have been replaced by machines. http://tinyurl.com/yko5y3u Do you think that this is the case? Might the difficulties in making the transition account for some of the current high unemployment?

It is kind of a strange world being described by the article, with most manufacturing related work being done by machines and people doing a lot of health related work. It reminds me of the Time Machine where the people played all day and the Morlocks (who could be thought of as representing the technologists) manipulating them.

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7 Answers

gggritso's avatar

I’m taking a course in Organizational Structure right now, where we discuss how automatic processes affect organization. You’re right, many jobs are being replaced by computer and machines; however I think that the process is still slow. Studies all over have shown that the human system is still the heart of an organization, and disrupting it would be devastating to the productivity.

In short, I think it is becoming harder to find employment, but I don’t think that automation and mechanization are a big factor right now as a lot of employment lays in the service industries which are hard to automate.

jsammons's avatar

I would say that most jobs could, and probably will, be replaced by machines in the future. Why pay someone when you could just use a computer that works constantly? The biggest jobs will be programmers and designers. Who knows where it will all end.
But this wouldn’t happen for some time. You couldn’t just change all the jobs to being opereated by mahcines over night.

filmfann's avatar

A much bigger change in the nature of employment is the concept of Lifetime Employment. 30 years ago, if you got a job, you could conceivably work there the rest of your life, if you so chose. Nowdays, that just isn’t available.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, some task-oriented jobs are being replaced by knowledge-oriented jobs, while other task-oriented jobs are being carried out by machines. I really believe that at some point we have to reinvent very simple jobs we can offer people who fail to learn discipline and get a proper education.

Judi's avatar

When I was in Jr. High (1970’s) they predicted that because of technology we would all have more leisure time in the future. They even had classes on how Leisure management, (In JR High!) Little did they know how hard people would be working just to make ends meet today.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

As computer technology progresses, jobs change and workers need to be adaptable.
If a person’s job can be done by a computer, they need to upgrade their skill set.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Yes, to some extent. But it will take a while for many jobs to be taken over by computers. Although technology is improving quite rapidly and people can create computers to do plenty of new things (in Japan they’re even developing a robot to take care of their elderly), that does not necessarily mean they will immediately replace all human workers. Especially in this economy, it is hard to get the kind of money that would be needed to replace an entire human staff with computers. Heck, just three years ago I was working for a high-end clothing company that did all of its accounting by hand, and I bet they still do.

Certain professions can never be effectively done by a computer. Teaching, for example, and retail. Things that require human interaction to be successful. Sure, there are computers we can use to look up certain things, but eventually you’re just going to want to talk to a person help you out.

Still, it does make it difficult to find jobs, especially when we have computers (not to mention illegal immigrants who will work for next to nothing) to do jobs for us. That just means we have to keep up with technology. Although that’s somewhat impossible to do – even if you go to a 4-year college and learn how to use the newest, most advanced technology, that technology will most likely be out of date by the time you graduate into the workforce.

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