Most people have understood that the music and the movie industries have been profoundly changed by the internet. Fewer realize that this was just the beginning.
Futurist Thomas Frey recently talked on how 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030 and also outlined five areas in which this will happen:
1. Power Industry
2. Automobile transportation
5. Manual labor
And here are his arguments:
The Power Industry with centralized power networks and big power plants will disappear as new disruptive energy technologies, enabling small scale and clean energy production emerge. Energy will be produced locally and distributed to communities in micro grids.
Automobile transportation will gradually shift over to autonomous vehicles, starting with delivery transportation and autonomous driving as luxury features in high end cars.
Education will be done via the internet through recorded courses. Focus will shift from teaching to learning. This will have a huge impact on jobs as teaching requires experts whereas learning only requires coaches.
Manufacturing will become dramatically different through the emergence and development of 3D printing, allowing local and specific manufacturing on demand.
Manual labor will be done by robots.
Basically I agree with Frey, although I believe that this shift might happen sooner than he thinks.
However, some of these areas might not be transformed dramatically in a short term. The power of 3D printing has been extensively debated lately. Critics don’t believe that it will ever be a very powerful force.
Certainly 3D printing is at its infancy but we also know how industrial development can take a concept from niche applications to mass market applications. There’s no reason to believe that this will not happen to 3D printing.
Education on the other hand is a sector which will probably be hit hard in the next few years, leading to a dramatic transformation which will go on for a long time.
Looking in a longer perspective, all the way to 2030, Frey most probably underestimates or even forgets the power of AI. He points out that “nearly every physical task can conceivably be done by a robot” but fails to acknowledge that also a large number of intellectual tasks can be done without humans by then, performed by AI.
In that perspective far more than 2 billion jobs done by humans today will disappear by 2030, but as Frey notes, several new completely different jobs will be created.