How to reduce the probability of being made redundant in an age of growing technology.
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Following the credit crunch, many industries have had to make some hefty financial cuts. Unfortunately this has led to job roles being cut and employees being faced with redundancy. Owing to the increasing demands on time, finances and on existing staff; more and more companies are opting to replace their workforce with intelligent technology. With this in mind, we have looked at how real a threat the advances in technology are to some roles and how you can you boost your employability, helping to secure your role. Take a look at some of the most recent technological advances that are becoming increasingly familiar in the modern world.
Technology in the modern world
Source: Credit to http://www.telegraph.co.uk
Although several films such as Terminator and iRobot have encouraged viewers to proceed with caution when replacing human employees with intelligent equipment, technology is already on our doorstep. The Television series, Humans was chastised by some saying it was ‘scaremongering’ and ‘overly-dramatic’ however, pictured below is the artificially intelligent Japanese robot named ChihiraAico. In Japan, there is a hotel that is 90% staffed by robots.
Source: Credit to http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/
Technology that is on the increase
Drones: Predominately used by Fire & Rescue services and some police forces; drones are becoming increasingly popular for search and rescue operations, the delivery of medical supplies and recording high-resolution images. However, in the future, it is possible that drones could be used for commercial purposes. Amazon is just one of the companies that have unveiled plans for their usage. If the company can agree the terms of their usage with British Airspace. Although this would possibly reduce the need for delivery van drivers, other jobs would be created through the need to pilot the drones. If more drones do take to the sky, it is likely that more jobs relating to Air Space will also be created.
Source: Credit to http://www.networkworld.com/
Intelligent inbound call handling: There has been an increase in the number of companies choosing to use intelligent call handlers. Invariably, if you call a banking helpline, government website or mobile network company, you will have experienced a call queuing system. After the initial greeting from the automated response, you will be asked to state information such as; your name, the person’s name that you are trying to contact or your mobile number, followed by the hash key. You may also have be asked phrases such as, ‘please, in a few words, can you describe the nature of your inquiry.’ Having followed the instructions asked of you and having responded in a clear and concise manner, many customers are subjected to the frustrating scenario of the machine misinterpreting what you have said, resulting in an unwanted outcome where either; you are directed to the wrong person, the call is terminated or you are rerouted and the process starts again.
Driverless trains: As stated in The Telegraph, the London Underground has announced plans for a new fleet of driverless trains. Although these vehicles can be run automatically, for safety measures, there will still be a member of staff present at all times.
There has been rumours about this on and off for the past 5 years with lots of hearsay and the company denying the subject even though there have been leaked documents to us from the top. The company would like to introduce driverless trains and obviously, are always looking at replacing current stock trains on the lines with driverless ones. From a health and safety perspective, they are not allowed any deep tube tunnel trains/lines like the jubilee or Victoria or northern for example, without drivers but the question remains; what capacity and what grades will these drivers be?
Source: Credit to http://www.bombardier.com/
Scan as you shop: This new feature in supermarkets has caused worry amongst checkout operators / cashiers that their position may be under threat due to more customers opting for scan as you shop and self-checkout points within the store. Many customers still prefer to talk to an actual member of staff or are a little technology shy. Some habitually use manned checkout lanes. Manager’s therefore still choose to offer their staff training on how to be the most efficient in this role to ensure higher standards of service. Also, customers often experience difficulties with the self-service machines. Phrases such as; ‘unexpected item in bagging area’, and ‘product check’ (for items with an age restriction such as alcoholic beverages) often require staff to assist the customer.
Virtual Assistants: Another relatively recent appearance in shopping centres, airports and in other large commercial establishments are virtual assistants. These holograms are programmed to be multi-lingual and designed to offer information on; safety, promotions, security and other pre-programmed FAQs. The holograms even wave when curious customers stand in close proximity. However, since the virtual assistants cannot offer responses outside of their programing, the technology does not offer as effective communication as can be offered by a regular assistant. Communication is a vital asset in any job role and one that is sure to enhance your employability status.
Journalism: It is possible that intelligent technology could be used in the future to report on smaller news stories. As commented on in The Guardian,
‘The mundane task of trawling through wire copy to spot a newsworthy item could be seen as a waste of resources, especially if all that's required is straight reportage of facts and figures. Surely we should just let computers do the work, while humans get on with more investigative and analytical pieces?’
This change would see a large reduction in the number of journalists needed to report on stories, resulting in job cuts. However, it is important to bear in mind that the cost of buying and running intelligent technology like this is likely to be greater, in the early years of it being available, than the cost of employing a regular journalist.
Employers are always looking to remain informed, efficient and economical. Some of the most valuable staff will consequently possess these qualities. As the old adage goes, knowledge is indeed power. If your company offers the chance for further training, it is a good idea to agree and add to your existing skills. Another option is to look to gain further qualifications in your spare time. A lot of career paths, such as those working in the IT industry, expect their employees to know about current programmes and the relevant technology. By remaining current with your information, processes can become more streamlined and therefore more efficient. It is a good idea to be open to new concepts. Those who remain the most flexible to change, grow and develop within a company will find that they gain new expertise and new experiences. If your company is looking to embrace technological advances, new opportunities should develop with this. You may indeed find a niche in which to specialise that makes you an invaluable asset.
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