In last week’s show, This Old Marketing Podcast drew future labor data from a recent MarTech Advisor research piece (which itself extracted the analysis of several economics and technology academics). The tone of the hosts, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, was alarming for good reason: the takeaways indicate that humanity won’t have to bother with the rise of The Matrix or Skynet to face its doom.
The machines have already arrived, and they are going to take our jobs very soon. That includes a merciless conquest of the market research industry.
How Bad Is The Rise of the Machines?
No one is safe. According to the research, machines could replace 100 million U.S. jobs by 2025. This data is not a conspiracy theory and not just endemic to physical labor jobs (hello, Google robots). No, many of these lost jobs are actually in the analytical and technical arenas.
The data claims there is a 61% probability that algorithms and artificial intelligence will replace close to half a million market research jobs in the next ten years. When including other marketing positions like marketing specialist, for example, the MartTech Advisor article states “it’s safe to conclude that anything from half to two-thirds of marketing jobs are at risk.”
Hasta la vista, baby marketers!
In fact, the percentage could be higher, considering much of the research was conducted in 2014. In these frenetic days, a couple of years ago is ancient history. Machines have since advanced exponentially in creativity and social interaction.
Other Industries Massacred by the Machines
These jobs possess the highest likelihood of being exterminated in the next ten years by machines:
1. Telemarketing (99% probability – 234,520 jobs)
2. Budget Analysis (94% probability – 57,120 jobs)
3. Insurance Sales Persons (91% probability – 374,700 jobs)
4. Retail Salespersons (92% probability – 4,562,160 jobs)
5. Technical Writers (89% probability – 48,210 jobs)
6. Proofreaders and Copy Markers (84% probability – 10,500 jobs)
The first four are not that surprising, considering how online and automation worlds rule consumer lives. However, the eradication of mortal technical writers, proofreaders and copy makers shouldn’t be that startling—as computer algorithms can now easily edit and craft procedural copy. And beyond even: many news stories are presently written by programs and not Louis Lane.
In an odd dichotomy, the jobs the machines are likely not to steal in their vicious invasion are, on one hand, creative jobs like advertising, public relations and event planning; and sales jobs, on the other hand. Obviously, those who create and design our future machine overlords are safe when it comes to their careers.
(The Computer Probably of Selected Occupations, by MarTech Advisor, is posted at the end of this article).
How to Rage Against the Machines (and remain employed)
For those in market research and other machine-targeted professions, understand that you won’t be alone. Some data suggests that half of U.S. jobs will be computerizable within two decades. I wish I could say that there is always work in the video store or phone book industries, but sadly it ain’t so…
In fact, that might be the goods news. Industries change and there is always a man behind the curtain of the machine. You may not be the creative/design or sales type, but beginning to migrate to computer or even engineering fields could not only save your career but upgrade it as well. Now, that’s a Red Pill you should take with tomorrow’s morning coffee.
You see, as long as we live a human consumer-based society, jobs for meat machines will always thrive. Remember, artificial intelligence is still artificial and good human judgment is what makes the business world go around…or more like forward. This is certainly the opinion of The Guardian’s Brook Rainwater in relation to lost jobs to machines:
None of this impacts human-centered work, the idea that people have critical comparative advantages that must be embraced, nurtured and developed. By using machines for things they can do better and bolstering the areas where we thrive, it provides opportunities to allow humans to focus on creative thinking and problem solving. We could in fact see a new renaissance where automation unlocks more creativity and innovation in humans as people are freed from repetitive tasks and rote production roles that we have been saddled with for generations.
If you are one of those market researchers who enjoy repetitive tasks and rote production, then you might want to fire up your resume right about now because not even Sarah Connor can save you.
For everyone else, there are experts that contend that for every job a machine takes a new one is created for humans. One such expert is tech researcher, J.P. Gownder, who stated in an interview for Wired:
While these technologies are both real and important, and some jobs will disappear because of them, the future of jobs overall isn’t nearly as gloomy as many prognosticators believe. In reality, automation will spur the growth of many new jobs—including some entirely new job categories.
For the record, this article was written by a human. Who knows about the next one…