I have just now read an article here: http://www.buzzmachine.com/2011/08/05/the-jobless-future/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+buzzmachine+%28BuzzMachine%29&utm_content=Twitter suggested by Twitter. As far as I do agree that times are changing, I do not agree that jobs will not come back.
I think they will, but different.
It is true that retailing has been changed by Amazon and that paper journalism has been almost rendered obsolete by internet. In all areas of life 21st century showed us change: electronics, postal services, manufacturing, travel, medicine, genetics, family, psychology, construction, social sciences… Wherever you look, it is no longer as it once was. Behind all that change there are people, not machines. Without ideas of those people we would not be where we are now. But after all, Amazon is nothing else but a store without the door or physical location. Post office still has to deliver manually packages ordered online – we are not sending many letters lately, but we still generate postal traffic.
We still like physically touch goods we buy, especially groceries. We still like to put on clothes we will eventually wear. There is no store in world-wide web which can get my size just perfect and sending those shoes or clothes back and forth is simply annoying.
I think that this uniformity will eventually become boring if it not already has. People will look for exclusivity. We will want to wear custom-made dresses, suits, shoes… We will want to have custom-made furniture. Pictures hanging on our walls should have some relation to us, not be one of the million copies sold in Ikea. This area – relatively cheap customisation, differentiation of products – definitely requires more people. Carpenters, designers, painters, builders, photographers…It requires different skills or education, but definitely requires people.
The second solution is more difficult: we should, same way as Jeff Bezos did, look at the whole picture and ask what is missing here. Find a different approach to jobs. We don’t always have to be clerks in stores, but we may become personal advisers. Today many people use physical stores to check hardware (picture or sound quality etc) before they will buy it from the net. Where will all those people go if all those stores will disappear? Maybe creating small show rooms full of newest stuff, manned by knowledgeable advisers, is an idea? And how about cosmetics – would you buy a newest perfume just because of its picture?
I am convinced that there are jobs out there, we just have not discovered them yet. We are simply stuck in traditional way of thinking about jobs, where reality already has overtaken us. We need to catch up, quickly.