When answering this question I had a discussion with my husband about the digital technologies that are replacing some roles in our local grocery shops. Of course the big chain supermarkets with their self-serve cashiers points came straight to mind. But then our conversation veered towards McDonalds and how as we enter the fast food restaurant we are ushered towards the self-serve kiosk terminals. We then spoke about how currently you need to pay using a debit/credit card, because when you select cash as the payment option, you still have to go and pay a cashier…
We discussed how the person ushering us would probably be replaced next, with a robot concierge who would approach customers as they enter, take our order and our cash or digital funds. I next imagined that the kitchen would be fitted with kitchen robot arms that are processing the orders from building the burgers to cooking the fries, salting and packaging them for the consumer. It reminded us of a time when ATMs were first introduced, taking on some of the role of the Bank Teller. However, you still needed people to ‘service’ the ATMs, e.g. replenish cash, fix technical issues or clear jams in the issuing mechanism.
Therefore, it’s not all doom and gloom for future jobs, because digital technologies are likely to create new careers for the future that we might find it difficult to imagine right now. CSIRO says that “Digital Disruption” is likely to affect 40% of current jobs. Computational thinking will become an important skills for students to have going into this new workforce. Computation Thinking Skills are transferable, and therefore will be vital skills for future jobs and career prospects.
The career that I looked into was for agriculture, where digital technologies will augment (support) or automate the industry. For example: *navigation robotics *process automation *decision support tools.
Regardless of what industry or discipline you investigate someone is working on bringing that area into the digital arena with digital technologies. It was fascinating to imagine the progression from the scythe of farmers centuries ago, and the incredibly modern agriculture equipment of today. Being worked on now are harvesters that will be unmanned, and will, using GPS, climate information and previous crop performance data make suggestions to the farmer of the best way in which to plant the field(s) for the greatest harvest yield. The digital technology will allow these machines to access a huge range of data. Farmers are already working with programmers who are developing apps for their smartphones that will allow farmers to record data relevant to them.