Will Digitalization and Advanced Robotics Take Over Our Jobs?

 A question asked by many however the concept is understood by none.

From perspectives of container shipping industry

A question asked by many however the concept is understood by none.

It is well-acknowledged that we are indeed in the age of automation where technological advancements and the process of digitalization is taking place over all businesses and sectors. With FedEx and Amazon now bringing robots into the workforce and Bremen is developing an iris robot that has the capability to handle over 800 packages in an hour, it is a cause of concern for the human workforce that soon they will no longer be needed and their chance of getting a job becomes slimmer. However, this is not the first time where machines take over human labor.

Over the decades we have seen the evolution of machineries. Labor-intensive and dangerous tasks become easier and more efficient with introduction of machines and yet there are still plenty more spaces for humans in the industry. With the introduction of robots and advanced technologies, yes some of the jobs will be eliminated however it will also create and bring in the transition of new jobs and skills that will be an asset to the industry.

Disruptive technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Autonomous Vessels are some of the changes coming to the shipping and liner industry. Autonomous Vessels will certainly not require as much crews and seafarers onboard and everything can be controlled on shore. Despite this, according to Oskar Lavender, VP of Maritime Rolls-Royce, there will still be needs for humans in the industry to oversee all the autonomous vessels sailing across the seas and this is certainly not a one-man’s job. There will be job opportunities for the human workforce but the roles might be changing. The future may not need man’s muscles but they will certainly need the human brain. As higher-level of skills will be an important asset, the employers will compete for specialized and skillful workforce that will do the monitoring, trouble-shooting and devices maintenance – someone who knows the ins and outs of the robots and automated machineries. The pay for such skills will also be higher.

Instead of focusing on whether your now-job will be taken over by the future robots, perhaps we should be focusing on upgrading our skills and knowledge to fit the coming waves of technological take-over. Think of how you can be an asset and relevant to the workforce and what key skills that are required to adapt to digitalization. According to Visual Capitalist, some of the key skills that are needed in order to survive in the age of automation include complex problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity. All of these are the human skills that cannot be effectively programmed or imitated by the computers. Our high-order cognition, emotional empathy and social intelligence will still be relevant in the sea of “automated colleagues”.

References:
https://www.portofrotterdam.com/en/doing-business/logistics/cargo/containers/50-years-of-containers/the-robot-is-coming
https://www.forbes.com/sites/adigaskell/2018/04/04/what-impact-does-robotics-have-on-the-labor-market/#173e6c935d00
https://www.forbes.com/sites/mohanbirsawhney/2018/03/10/as-robots-threaten-more-jobs-human-skills-will-save-us/#464e6c763fce
https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/robot-ships-will-bring-big-benefits-put-captains-shore-ncna818941
http://www.visualcapitalist.com/skills-needed-survive-robot-workplace/