On Monday night, BBC one debuted their Panorama programme titled, ‘Could A Robot Do My Job’. The programme was not only eye-opening, it also left us with many unanswered questions on the future of different industries. Are design jobs future proof? Will the future include robots that can create and design websites?
Technology has already been making people redundant by the thousand, with the number only going to increase over the next 20 years. Since 2000, over half of Secretarial jobs have been replaced with technology, and over half of Travel Agents, Counter Clerks, and Librarians have also been replaced. According to a study by Oxford University, it is largely lower paid jobs which are at risk, as opposed to higher paid. Over the next 20 years, a third of UK jobs are at risk of automation, making 10 million jobs redundant.
It’s not all bad news though, while technology is replacing jobs, it is also creating them. In the last 15 years, technology has created 3.5 million jobs in the UK alone. However, the jobs created are highly skilled, meaning that the people who are losing their jobs may not necessary be able to move to one which has been created.
With regard to the design industry, design jobs are perhaps some of the most unlikely to be automated in the whole of the UK. This is down to two aspects; firstly, creativity. Robots cannot be built to be creative, at least not at the moment, or in the near future. Robots may be able to solve problems, but being able to create concepts and design artwork from scratch is not something that can be taught to a machine. The next aspect is skill level, as robots are more easily being taught to take over low skilled repetitive jobs, design not being one of them.
Essentially, the key is to learn to work with technology rather than be replaced by it. In the design industry, technology is constantly advancing to make the tools we use more affective and convenient. Technology’s ability to aid people rather than take their jobs is perfectly illustrated by Virgin Trains’ customer service department. Their computer system uses advanced technology to separate emails into categories, which has only aided the employees, rather than replacing them.
Overall, people in the design industry are unlikely to be replaced by machinery any time soon. But, as low skilled jobs are lost, and higher skilled jobs are created, it will become increasingly difficult for low skilled workers to find work.
If you’re in need of some creativity from S&H, get in touch.