From the moment that machines could handle repetitive work, it threatens to replace human labor, leaving human jobs obsolete. As a result, automation has increasingly reshaped the global economy, fueling job displacement and technology unemployment. Ever since the interception of the internet, man-made machines have increasingly invaded traditional workplace, waging a war against the planet. It has destroyed millions of jobs in Canada, many of which are not restricted to repetitive, low-wage jobs.
I was one of the early casualties in this war. Armed with a science degree from a Canadian university, I had taken a computer software engineer job with different companies in the 1990s. But the collapse of dot.com bubble in the beginning of the new millennium has wiped out large amount of capitals from the high-tech industry, forcing companies to shut down and lay off employees. Unfortunately, and coincidentally, both the companies I worked for were evaporated during the bubble burst, destroying thousands of jobs – including mine.
But the enemy in this war had continued its mission to attack, putting my next job in its crosshair. A few years after I taking a job as a journalist, working for this newspaper, the media industry was hard hit by the growing new digital media created by the powerful internet. The rising social media, the internet search engine and the omnipresent websites has looted a big chunk of advertising revenue, threatening every job in the traditional media industry. While the aggressive technology has spared this paper and my job, it has forced many of our competitors to shut down, backing away from the sunset industry altogether.
Claiming victories one after another, the machine has only become more aggressive towards the defeated. Armed with artificial intelligence, technology has continued to grow in power, threatening to clash with human jobs across all industries and causing mass casualties in unprecedented scale. Apart from performing manufacturing jobs, the powerful robots will do everything from driving your cars to filing your tax returns to providing banking services.
Banking sector is one of the biggest targets of the robots, as the fast paced FinTech industry collides with the finance world. Equipped with automation banking edge, it has caused digital disruptions to traditional banking, providing a genuine alternative to retail services and leaving brick and mortar branches in jeopardy. It has diminished the roles of the frontline bank employees, eliminating thousands of tellers’ jobs worldwide. According to CNN, the number of US branch tellers has declined by 15% since 2007, and the job losses will only accelerate, with two thirds of bank employees’ to be replaced by automation in the next few years.
In the next wave of this robot war, with 50 billion of devices connected to the internet, about 80% of customer interactions will be built without human interaction. A full 77% of jobs in China will be vulnerable to robots or AI replacement, and the Canadian economy is hardly immune to colossal forces sweeping through the labour markets. According a report from Ryerson University, nearly 42 per cent of Canadian workers are at “high risk” of being affected by automation over the next one to two decades.
Unfortunately, it seems this robot war has determined to chase my career to the grave, threatening to take away my current job as a journalist. It turns out writing is not a problem for AI, and many companies have started to use intelligence software to write business report. Up to 3000 reports are reportedly being written by AI every quarter.
But I am not worried. Technology is a double-edged sword, with the ability to enslave but to liberate， and the power to destruct but to revive. I believe that all of us victims of the war will be compensated under the new economic model that the technology has helped reshape – in one way or another.
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