Disappearing job fields make career planning essential

Cartoon of a robot talking to a human therapist
By J Frank

To say the world is changing rapidly these days is an understatement. With far more than the necessary computational power for space flight in our pockets and the inception of ChatGPT, the global spread of information has never been more fast-paced. We have all heard about how technological change may affect jobs in the future, but have probably not stopped to think long about the sheer number of occupations that will be altered.

Naturally, this thinking led me to the brink of an existential crisis. More importantly, this got me to determine what careers are least likely to be affected and which fields an undeclared major may steer away from. Here are my recommendations for a few occupations that are probably not going anywhere yet, and some professions that may disappear within our lifetimes.

Equip your anti-blue light lenses and consider becoming a computer scientist or researcher for once. It seems as though continued demand for scientific professions will remain, as the STEM field is projected to grow as much as 10% in the coming decade, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 

But what if you are not into crunching numbers, designing experiments or writing code? I admit that I come from bias here as a psych major, but clinical psychology appears to be a professional field that will continue to be around for a long time. 

For one thing, the population is bound to be under much distress for the foreseeable future and the care of humans by humans is unlikely to be secondary to chatbots anytime soon. 

Therapy is something that is intrinsically done between people, and even the most remarkable robot would likely propagate an unhealthy attachment between humans and artificial support systems. 

In addition to psychologists, dentists, nurses and doctors are generally safe from layoffs, according to Business Insider. Artists, as well as judges and lawyers, can likewise rest assured of continued job security. As the World Economic Forum indicates, companies are generally looking for analytical thinking, creativity, resilience and curiosity, all of which a liberal arts education can provide. 

Despite the speculated reliability of these fields, the future of many other professions is anyone’s guess. Some statistics indicate that drivers, commercial or business, are expected to decrease with self-driving cars becoming omnipresent, according to Forbes. From accountants and data entry clerks to fast food and factory workers, the more I looked, the more I realized just how many different professions will be vulnerable to replacement by artificial intelligence and automation. Essentially anything that involves repetition is subject to the chopping block, which can be unsettling news for much of our current workforce.

There truly is not a place where I would rather see a machine than someone happily employed. Artificial intelligence simply cannot replace human emotional intelligence, creativity, curiosity and imagination — at least in a poetic sense. Moreover, human discourse is a fundamental aspect of economic growth and politics that I dare say should not be automated for a multitude of reasons out of the scope of this article.

It is my conviction that aside from the pragmatics and the potential adversity for many, it truly is better to have humans running the show in some arenas. I do not find much appeal in having a robot asking me if I would like a refill on my half-drunk glass of water, and when I go to a concert, I do not wish to hear robot Taylor Swift. 

Yet the future remains unwritten; not even economists are certain of the outcomes. There is always potential for the creation of new jobs and retraining of the workforce for future needs. Many jobs may remain by choice or custom and opportunities generally lie on the other side of the fence in times of hardship. 

For instance, Gitnux speculates that as high as 85% of the jobs in 2030 are yet to be invented! Ultimately, we should all aspire towards an optimistic and resilient attitude knowing that there very well may be a way to make a fulfilling living and lead a symbiotic relationship with the advanced technology of tomorrow.

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