Answer: Because automation will gradually take over the jobs of secretaries but not the jobs of foresters.
Two economists named David Autor and David Dorn have recently been looking at how automation will affect employment in the future. Their conclusions suggest that jobs like
secretaries, proof-reader’s and payroll clerks will gradually be taken over by computers whilst firefighters, police and teachers will be required long into the future.
The study suggests that even the jobs of hairdressers will succumb to ever-more intelligent machines although it seems unlikely that Jennifer Aniston will be trusting a scissor-wielding robot any time soon.
Which leads us on to the question of just how “intelligent” can machines become…
This week the BBC are taking a close look at the subject of A.I. (Artificial Intelligence). In an article titled “Intelligent Machines: The jobs robots will steal first” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-33327659) Jane Wakefield suggests that taxis without drivers are not too far distant and robots already assist surgeons to perform extremely complex surgery.
The optimists within the scientific community believe that A.I. will free human beings from the drudgery of menial chores and allow us all to concentrate on things that are more enjoyable. These experts also believe that technology offers the potential to eradicate disease and poverty.
The other side of the coin is that experts such as Professor Steven Hawking believe that “A.I. may spell the end of the human race”. The argument goes that if we succeed in making a computer that it is more intelligent than us then it might make another computer that is even more intelligent than it. After a few computer generations, each getting more intelligent, they might consider humans to be surplus to requirements.
If your children like pondering such issues then why not take 40 minutes to listen to “The Last Question” (http://www.openculture.com/2015/06/isaac-asimovs-favorite-story-the-last-question-read-by-isaac-asimov.html) in which Isaac Asimov paints a picture of a very, very distant future.
Will robots be good for humanity or bad? Should your children be aiming for a job that computers can’t do? Ask them to see what they think.