03 Nov 2021 13:29 IST

Ten jobs that will vanish in the next ten years

ML & AI to algo trading and drones, will ensure that many of today’s lucrative jobs can disappear in time.

Make predictions, and you can have egg on your face. Take this example. In 2007, Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft, said, “There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.” Phew! Against that and more such examples in history, do I really have a fair chance to succeed? Well, I intend to hedge my bets. Here is an insight into those jobs which are going to sink as time sails by.

Analysts, fund managers and wealth advisors beware

If you are an analyst on Wall Street or in any of those fancy mutual funds in India, your job could be on the line. Robots are being programmed to do complex computations and study trends. AI will play a lead role in ensuring speed, accuracy, breadth and depth, plus unbiased opinions. Exit analysts.

Asset managers may fall off the cliff. Machines can do quants far better than human beings. Already algorithm-based trading has begun. Once it matures into fine art, the role of a fund manager could get significantly reduced, or at least the number of such managers will fall. Already, AI is beginning to score over asset managers.

Banks have financial advisors who chase and help high net worth individuals. That sphere of dominance will go as AI will help robots better evaluate risk appetite, return estimates, and design of risk-return framework with attendant portfolio choices. Yet, a few HNIs may still want customised wealth management and wish to deal with men rather than robots.

Will you need translators?

If you can translate from English to Chinese and vice-versa or from English to Japanese and vice-versa, today, you could be earning a bomb. Translation of the written word and spoken word will be taken away from humans. Machines are already doing an excellent first cut translation. Once they pick finesse and graduate to non-literal translation and begin to grasp the nuances of language, accents, dialects, and context and so on, you and I can kiss goodbye to these roles.

Cashiers and admin legal cashiered!

The cashier in a supermarket is going to be a thing of the past. When you walk past the gate, secret overhead equipment will scan your buys, SMS an invoice, and debit your bank account. Yes, a cashier will no longer be required.

Administrative and legal jobs are under the threat scanner. Routine jobs such as preparing documents, modifying clauses across multiple contracts following a change in the regulatory framework, contract analysis and so on, are going to be done by AI. A year ago, JP Morgan pink slipped many lawyers who specialised in this area.

Telemarketer, CRM, Insurance assessors may go

Telemarketers who have been torturing you with their spam calls are on their way out. I am not sure, however, if the alternative will be welcome! You will receive calls from robots that can actually read your emotions and modify their questions and answers. It will be a tough job convincing them that you are not interested in the product.

With the growth of bots, customer service representatives will take a back seat. Over the next few years, this automation will improve customer satisfaction and speed conflict resolution. Today, one hardly walks into a bank to draw money or deposit cash and instead uses the smartphone. The reduced footfalls will, over time, lead to reduced staffing.

Many jobs like assessors and surveyors will lose their importance as AI takes over number crunching and decision-making. Insurance companies already want to move towards a same-day settlement over time.

Pilots grounded

Even today a bulk of flying, except the take off and landing, is on auto-mode. The pilot actually enjoys a 13-hour break in a 14-hour journey! Once automation learns these two activities and performs them effortlessly, you will see unmanned aircraft ply passengers from place to place.

And, here’s a laundry list

Here is a laundry list of other jobs that will go up in smoke. Chauffeurs (thank-you autonomous cars), courier boys (enter drones), and traffic cops (only India has cops under traffic signals) will disappear. So will news reporters (AI can write faster reports), parking assistants (cars park themselves), restaurant servers (robot-based service), and librarians (again, robot-based service). In short, no job is safe.

Some estimates suggest that automation could disrupt anywhere between 800 million and 2,000 million jobs in the next ten years. The way to stay relevant is to reskill oneself. Let us connect in ten years and revisit these jobs!

(The writer is a CA, an author, teacher, and public speaker.)