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5 Unlikely Careers that might be made obsolete by Machines

5 Unlikely Careers that might be made obsolete by Machines

In mid-2016, smartphone manufacturer Foxconn replaced about 60,000 workers on the factory floor with semi-independent robots. Foxconn, one of the major suppliers with Samsung and Apple, continued the trend among Chinese manufacturing companies of replacing humans with robots.

In fact, manufacturing companies in Guangdong have invested over $520 million in robots since 2014, a clear indicator of the direction the industry is taking.

Locally, robots have become increasingly popular in construction sites and among emergency and law enforcement agencies. They’ve been used to defuse bombs, help with search and rescue, and many other functions that put humans at risk.

Away from the heavy-duty use cases robots and automation, in general, are moving closer to home. They are now answering phones, prescribing medicine, and doing many other tasks that were usually reserved for humans.

Check out these five regular careers that might soon be replaced by robots.

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1. Babysitters

    In 2014, the average babysitter was paid about $500 per week which is a bit on the higher side for the average American family. Add that to the number of unknowns, including safety concerns and finding the right sitter for your children, and you may just find yourself going for a robotic sitter.

    Hollywood has taught us that robots can be entertaining and fun, which is why companies like Aeon Co. introduced robots in most of their stores to keep kids entertained while their parents were busy shopping.

    Hello Kitty and PaPeRo are examples of fully-functional robots that are capable of telling jokes and tracking kids. Similar technology may replace humans as babysitters in the future.

    2. Fast food workers

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      McDonald’s recently rolled out their “Create Your Taste” kiosks that let customers build their burgers and even make full-menu orders from stand-alone touchscreen kiosks. These customized kiosk systems have become a major hit in the fast-food industry, with companies such as Panera Bread and Wendy’s looking to supplement their labor force with these kiosks.

      Customized kiosks in fast food restaurants greatly improve order accuracy, convenience, and do away with the long, winding queues. With the ever-increasing costs of labor, restaurant automation might just see robots edge humans from the job market.

      3. Reporters

        If you often catch up on sports news via online news websites, chances are you have read one or two articles created by an intelligent machine. Narrative Science uses a special artificial intelligence application to generate readable stories using data from sports events around the country.

        The Big Ten Network, a subsidiary of Fox Cable, uses the application to generate news stories touching on softball and baseball events. They simply email the game data from each game to Narrative Science who then feed the scores into the AI program that generates a news story within minutes – thus replacing your everyday sportswriter and news reporter.

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        4. Pharmacists

          Your prescription order might soon be serviced by a robot, that is if the automation efforts by the UCSF Medical Center are replicated across the medical field. The robotics-controlled pharmaceutical systems at two UCSF hospitals have jointly dispensed over 350,000 prescriptions without error.

          The pharmacy system receives the orders from pharmacists and dispensing physicians then sends the information to robots that pick medications from the shelf, package, label, and dispense the medications. Apart from regular pills, the system is also capable of filling IV syringes and compounding chemotherapy preparations – all with little to no human involvement.

          5. Drivers

            This one has been in the works for quite some time. Ever since Google and Tesla began advanced experiments with driverless cars, automakers have been shifting focus away from cars with human-supervised driving. Major auto companies like Ford, Toyota, Volvo, BMW, and Nissan have already announced plans to introduce semi or fully autonomous cars by around 2018.

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            Uber has even started experimenting with driverless cab services, which will be a major game changer when it finally becomes a standard service.

            Bottom Line

            Machines and autonomous technology will always be a part of society. The automation debate is currently split into two sides: one holding the view that automation will spur innovation in the labor sector with the other prophesying complete doom for the human workforce.

            Either way, the labor industry is poised for drastic transformation over the next few years. So for now, embrace the robots and savor the smoother, easier world of automation.

            Image Credits:

            Baby boy caucasian child family, Mcdonalds redaktionel chain, Reporter camera journalist media, Thermometer headache pain pills, Driver car traffic man hurry Via Pixabay

            Featured photo credit: Stocksnap.io via stocksnap.io

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            Vikas Agrawal

            Vikas is the co-founder of Infobrandz, an Infographic design agency that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies.

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            Published on November 23, 2020

            How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

            How to Develop Big Picture Thinking And Think More Clearly

            Your neighbors downstairs are playing loud music. Again. How do they not get tired of partying? And why do they choose songs with such a heavy downbeat that the glass in your cupboard is vibrating every two seconds? What can you do to get some peace that you deserve? What should you?

            Human mind tends to go in circles whenever faced with a problem without a clear solution. It becomes easy to forget the big picture and get lost in anger and self-pity, wasting our precious time, energy and enthusiasm.

            Would it not be nice if we always remembered to put things in perspective?

            Would it not be more efficient to face all kinds of problems, from tiny annoyances to life-changing emergencies, with a calm demeanor, sharp focus and fearless determination to promptly take the most efficient action possible?

            Alas, humans are not like that. All too often we let anxiety or greed get the best of us and make a rushed or shortsighted decision that we quickly come to regret. Other times, we spend weeks or months at an impasse, rehashing the exact same arguments, unable to accept the compromise required to move forward with any of the available options.

            Buddhists talk about getting lost in the “small self.” In this state of mind, we literally forget the big picture and focus on the small one. We start taking our daily problems too personally and, paradoxically, becomes less capable of solving them in an efficient manner. And this is the opposite of big picture thinking.

            Let me share with you a story related to big picture thinking…

            In 1812, the French army of Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Russia.[1] After a decisive Battle of Borodino, the capture of Moscow and therefore Napoleon’s victory in the war seemed inevitable.

            Unexpectedly, the Russian Commander-in-Chief Mikhail Kutuzov made a highly controversial decision of retreating and allowing the French to capture Moscow. Much of the population had been evacuated taking supplies with them. The city itself was set on fire and large parts of it burned into the ground.

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            After waiting in vain for Russia to capitulate, Napoleon had to retreat in the middle of a bitterly cold winter. He won the battle but lost the war. The campaign ended in a disaster and the near destruction of the French army.

            What can we learn from this historical lesson?

            1. Focus on the Consequences

            Napoleon focused on the important part: capturing Moscow. Nobody could accuse him of thinking small. Yet he overlooked that the Russian army could still fight even after giving up the country’s most important city.

            So was Moscow not an important target after all?

            Success expert Brian Tracy has a litmus test: things are important to the extent that they have important consequences. Things are unimportant to the extent that they have no important consequences.[2]

            When faced with a choice, ask yourself, what would be the consequences of each option?

            • Want to spend an hour studying or watching the new series on Netflix? What would be the consequences of each option? Netflix can sometimes be a better choice, but it helps to put things in perspective.
            • Want to maintain your apartment by yourself or to pay a cleaning service? Would would be the consequences of each option?
            • Want to meet up for coffee with this acquaintance of yours or catch up on your work instead? What would be the consequences of each option?

            The choice can be different for different people. An aspiring filmmaker may have a legitimate reason for choosing Netflix. Personally, cleaning your own apartment can be relaxing and nourishing even if the economics of hiring a cleaner looks compelling because you are earning a high hourly rate.

            This is where you will need a basic idea of who you are — what are your goals, values and aspirations.

            2. Flip Defeat Into Victory

            Kutuzov managed to turn Russia’s defeat into a historic victory by recasting the problem in a wider context: losing Moscow need not mean losing the war.

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            Despite the symbolic meaning attached to the Kremlin, the churches, the priceless treasures that had been stored in the city for centuries, the outcome of the campaign was ultimately determined by the strength of the remaining armies.

            If you can adopt this result-oriented perspective, many of your personal defeats may be flipped into victories as well. Few events in a human life are absolutely good or absolutely bad, and it usually takes many years to recognize in retrospect, what role a particular encounter did play in your story.

            Therefore we have every reason to look for the good in the things that happen to us.

            This is a very practical attitude, far from baseless “positive thinking.” After all, if something unfortunate has happened to you and you find good sides in this circumstance, you will then be better positioned to take advantage of those good sides.

            Say your noisy neighbors are affecting your productivity. What if it is a blessing in disguise? How can you turn this defeat into a victory?

            • Perhaps you are too serious about life and could learn how to have more fun. Join your neighbors or go out for a walk instead of working;
            • Perhaps you only wanted to be productive while instead procrastinated on social media. Now that your procrastination has been interrupted, stop and acknowledge this much greater obstacle to your productivity;
            • Perhaps you are too sensitive to interference. Take this opportunity to practice ignoring the noise and doing your best anyway;
            • Perhaps you have a victim mentality and the feeling of unfairness drains you more than any actual nuisance your neighbors might have caused. Try accepting this lapse in your productivity the way you would accept bad weather.

            Get used to finding opportunities in your problems. This is the quintessential big picture thinking.

            3. Ask for Advice

            Both Napoleon and Kutuzov had trusted advisers to discuss their affairs with. In general, getting a different perspective — or several — can only help inform your understanding and lead to better decisions. Just ensure that the people giving you advice are competent in the particular area where experience is needed.

            Paying money for advice can also be a wise investment. Lawyers, tax accountants, medical doctors spend years learning how to assist people like yourself in living more successful, more fulfilling lives.

            A quick legal consultation can save you a fortune down the line or even keep you out of big trouble. A medical check-up can uncover potential issues and help keep you healthy and active for years to come.

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            Even big, complex dilemmas at your job or in your romantic relationship can be tackled more effectively by partnering up with a coach or a therapist or, of course, with the help of a wise friend.

            4. Beware of Biased Advice

            Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.

            For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:

            • Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
            • Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
            • Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
            • Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
            • Become more productive by getting a faster computer.

            However, most purchases are unnecessary.

            Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly.[3] Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.[4]

            Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.

            After all,

            • Skin can also be protected from the sun by wearing appropriate clothing.
            • Health can be better fortified by consuming a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
            • Spending time or talking on the phone with your friends is the foremost way of connecting with them, and it is virtually free.
            • Your weekend can be brightened by doing something that you love.
            • You can become more productive by focusing on the tasks that have the most important consequences. A faster computer can, in fact, decrease productivity by making it easier to multitask and by enabling your favorite distractions.

            There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular “big picture,” to the exclusion of the alternatives.

            Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their “big picture” that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another “big picture” that one’s life has to have meaning and fulfillment.

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            Bottom Line

            It is human nature to make rushed, emotional decisions based on incomplete information, then regret those decisions later on.

            You can protect yourself from poor judgment by striving to attain the big picture when careful consideration is called for.

            Focus on the consequences of your decision before considering how you feel about it.

            Play with the cards you’ve been dealt, but look for opportunities in each situation and you will find them.

            Ask knowledgeable mentors for advice, but beware of biased people who have an opinion, but do not necessarily have your best interest in mind.

            Yet remember, true big picture thinking comes from hard-won experience. Legendary military commanders Napoleon Bonaparte and Mikhail Kutuzov were both injured on the battlefield.

            Clear thinking comes from putting your big picture to the test of reality.

            More Tips on Thinking Clearly

            Featured photo credit: Haneen Krimly via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] Wikipedia: French invasion of Russia
            [2] Brian Tracy: No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline
            [3] American Academy of Dermatology: Say Yes to Sun Protection
            [4] Harvard Medical School: Do multivitamins make you healthier?

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