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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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            Last Updated on March 25, 2020

            How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

            How Systems Thinking Makes You a Smarter Person

            There are several perspectives on the term systems thinking. The discipline goes beyond a collection of tools and techniques. A lot of individuals are fascinated by tools like brainstorming tools, structural thinking tools, dynamic thinking tools, as well as computer-based tools. They believe the system thinking tools can make them smarter and productive. However, it goes beyond that as systems thinking is more strategic and sensitive to the environment we find ourselves.

            So what is systems thinking and why is it good for you?

            What Is Systems Thinking?

            Systems thinking is a diagnostic tool that can help you to assess problems before taking action. It helps you to ask questions before arriving at conclusions. It prevents you from making an assumption, which is the lowest level of knowledge.

            A systems thinker is curious, compassionate, and courageous. The systems thinking approach incorporates the act of seeing the big picture instead of seeing in parts. It recognizes that we are connected, and there are diverse ways to solve a problem.

            Characteristics of Systems Thinking

            Systems thinking can help you in analyzing the connections between subsystems and understanding their potentials to make smarter decisions.

            In a soccer team, the elements are the coach, players, the field, and a ball. The interrelationships are strategies, communications among players, and game rules. The goal is to win, have fun and exercise. We all belong to several systems and subsystems.

            Some characteristics of systems thinking include:

            • Issue is important
            • The issue is familiar with well-known patterns
            • Attempts have been made to resolve the issue.

            Given these characteristics, systems thinking goes beyond an operational tool; it is a strategic approach and a philosophy.

            How to Use Systems Thinking

            Here’re 3 ways you can use systems thinking:

            1. Understand How the System Works and Use Feedback Points

            The first task is to know what system is all about and identify the leverage points or feedbacks that influence its functioning. This is what will help in adjusting the system.

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            If you want the system to be productive, enhance the feedback points. If you want it to be less productive, exhaust the same points.

            A good example is that of a bathtub. The leverage points are the faucet and the drain. If you forget to close the drain, having turned on the water, the water will never stop flowing, and the tub will never overflow.

            If you want more water, close the drain while you turn the water. If otherwise, turn the faucet off and open the drain. You can apply this to your personal development.

            Once you discover the feedback points in your life, find your leverage or feedback points, then enhance those points. If you want to be fit, get a trainer, find a mentor, or eat healthy foods.

            2. Discover the Patterns, Structure, and Events

            Trends and patterns could be compared to clues for a crossword puzzle. As you aspire to enhance the system, trends and patterns offer you hints and cause to shift your paradigm. Usually, they can direct you to unusual and unexpected aspects, to ideas, people, or places you have never thought about.

            Smart people watch out for trends and patterns so they can be conversant with changes.

            You can view the world from 3 different perspectives:

            i. The Event Perspective

            If you consider the world from an event perspective, the best you can do is to be smarter is ‘react’. You tend to be smarter by reacting quickly, becoming more lighter on your feet, and flexible as you advance through life.

            So how do you view the world from an event perspective? You ask a question like, ‘What happened?’.

            There is the possibility of becoming more aware and seeing more at this level. An excellent technique to achieve this is by telling a story to a group. If you can see beyond each event, see beyond patterns and trends, you will be empowered to anticipate, predict, and plan.

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            ii. Pattern Perspective

            To view the world from a pattern perspective, you need to ask, ‘What has been happening?’

            It is most times difficult to see the actual size of an iceberg (underlying structures that are the causes of events). The waterline dissects what’s visible from what’s not visible.

            A systems thinker does not assume from what’s visible only; he or she seeks to know what has been happening.

            Take a look at this video to understand more about the Iceberg Theory:

             

            iii. The Structure Perspective

            To view the world from a structure perspective, you need to ask, ‘what is causing issues?’ The answers will be the factors and forces responsible.

            If you find yourself in a traffic jam, you don’t blame the next driver as a smart person; you could ask, ‘what’s been causing the traffic jam?

            The usual answers could be a decaying road surface, careless driver, or high speed, but that would be the same things identified as trends. What makes the structure perspective different from others.

            The structure is what propels your energy. It is what affects happenings. A systems thinkers make deductions based on internal structures to arrive at a conclusion

            3. People Problems vs System Problems

            Several issues ranging from security breaches, product flaws, poverty, to transportation inefficiencies are systemic.

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            Even when you misbehave, there is usually an internal system to blame.

            If you are not productive in your business, it may not be caused by you. There may be a system that you need to enhance.

            Do you remember our feedback points? As soon as you assess the system, you can focus on people. Is a new hire causing lag in the packaging process? Is poor communication affecting the team’s performance? Reallocating job roles may be a perfect leverage point.

            In the traffic jam example, there could be a system-based solution such as installing traffic lights and subsequently enforcing traffic laws in the area to penalize reckless drivers.

            How to Foster Learning with Systems Thinking

            Systems thinking helps you to appreciate the interrelationships of people, organizations, policies, decisions, ideas, and relationships.

            Peter M Senge propounded five disciplines that foster learning in your DNA- whether you are leading an organization, starting a venture, or working as a freelancer.[1]

            1. Gain Mastery

            You can take online courses, attend conferences, read blog articles and books, listen to podcasts, converse with leaders within and beyond your industry, watch documentaries, learn from your team, and stretch yourself by improving your skills.

            2. Discover Your Assumptions and Biases

            There was this parable of four blind men who made different assumptions about an elephant. Their assumptions and biases hinder them from understanding how the animal looks like.

            Biases can rob you of innovation and prevent you from experiencing personal growth. To become aware of your biases, you have to take an internal trip and engage breakthrough thinking.

            3. Establish Your Vision

            Systems grind to a halt when the goal or mission is not defined. You will not have the motivation to complete the online course if you don’t know why you subscribe in the first place.

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            Is it for career advancement? To up your game or to gain general knowledge? Vision inspires you.

            4. Learn in Groups

            There is power in shared learning. There is a solidification of understanding when you learn in a group. You can have the lessons etched in your long term memory.

            For instance, you can join learning groups where information is shared weekly.

            5. Think in Systems

            Systems thinking is about lifelong learning and improvement. It has also been linked to the Iceberg principle, which affirms that visible events are insignificant compared to what’s visible. There’s more ice below the waterline than what you can see with your physical eyes.

            Anytime you are battling with a challenge, think in systems. Understand the details of the issue. Discover your leverage points. Assess, adapt, and keep improving your models.

            After all. If you meet a lion in the wild, you need to understand what you are facing.

            Final Thoughts

            You can foster systems thinking by modeling your own environment. Participate in training, watch TED Talks, and create time to connect with others.

            Also, practice critical thinking instead of making assumptions before you make a decision. The more you think systems, the more you will become smarter and productive in every aspect of your life.

            More to Help You Think Smarter

            Featured photo credit: Olav Ahrens Røtne via unsplash.com

            Reference

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