Technology affects everyone. It is, after all, its main purpose – to use innovation to optimize our work and lives. Year after year, we witness enormous changes to the way we perceive the world. However, recent technological trends pushed the whole game to a new level.
As coronavirus swept over the world, technology became a number one protector of life on Earth. To illustrate, remote work and distance learning became everyday occurrences. But there is the other side of the coin – millions of people lost their jobs due to the pandemic. And our main question for today is – can technology save jobs, or will it destroy them? Let's try to figure it out.
Better Technology Means Easier Living
New technologies all serve one purpose, and that is increased efficiency. Today, there are more options, which means there are more productivity and innovation. Moreover, we can do things fast – even faster than we ever could before. Machine learning, a subset of AI, boosts machine performance, so now machines can perform a wide range of tasks. For example, physical and cognitive tasks are already mastered, and now this field is focusing on social and linguistic tasks.
Better technology brought us speed and efficiency, yes, but there is more to this field than meets the eye. Jobs that require high skills became more appealing to the workers, as low-skill occupations become outdated. We now have machines and robots that can perform those jobs, so workers can focus on getting higher education to master their skills.
Furthermore, thanks to improved technology, the labor market became saturated with internet-based jobs. Each year, we get to meet new online professions. In 2020, it is entirely normal to be a vlogger, SEO specialist, or a professional gamer. But that is just the beginning. Examples exist in almost any industry, including education, IT, marketing, economy, automobiles, and online gaming. Even the casino industry profits from technological improvements, as best casino operators and game developers work side by side with IT experts in delivering high-quality content.
Virtual Reality (VR), together with AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) pushed forward a new form of digital interaction. That, in turn, boosted education across multiple fields. Training that requires simulation prospered once VR headsets reached the markets. Today, VR is popularly used in the military, medical field, and even psychiatry. These fields use VR to boost efficiency, improve learning, all the while eliminating risks that previously existed. That still doesn't mean that it would lead to unemployment in these fields, as all three fields rely on people to perform the jobs. Technology, in this sense, boosts performance, provides a better education, but does not jeopardize our jobs.
More Robots, Fewer Jobs
Technology affects the labor market by creating jobs that require either low or high skills to perform. That way, technology created a gap between workers as it eliminated the need for middle-range workers. Consequently, the pay gap has been rapidly widening. Furthermore, experts predict that new technologies and expansion of AI threatens to replace humans in the labor industry. However, this is not the first time that we are facing such a tectonic change. We've had tech revolutions before, and that never resulted in mass unemployment around the world. But then again, we did not have AI back then.
But that is not where the dramatic effects end. Another worrying impact of technology on the job market is the workers' adaptation pace. Until now, the workers had more than enough time to adapt to new technologies. However, what happens now when tech progresses faster than ever before? Well, there is one consequence – the workers take longer to get used to new equipment and software, making them less productive.
New Trends Signaling for a New World
The global pandemic quickened the pace of advancements. During the quarantine, technology became even more prominent as we had to rely on machines and the internet to do things that we would normally do in person. And perhaps that situation, grave as it is, showed us that we could transfer everything online and employ machines to do stuff that we would normally do ourselves. And that is arguably the main purpose of technology today.
Modern technology is truly overwhelming. Most gadgets and trends that are today quite ordinary existed as classic elements in old science-fiction novels. For instance, space travel? Holographic technology? These are all examples of how our world would – not could – look like tomorrow. And that tomorrow is not distant or hypothetical – it's quite achievable, real, and predictable.