Employment Prospects: Is Blue Collar Better?

blue collar workers

Until recently, the expectation was that automation would soon take over jobs involving physical labor, leaving white collar jobs for humans. The rise of ChatGPT and other large language models is making some experts question that idea.  “They’ll begin taking over portions of many white-collar jobs in the coming years,” wrote Loz Blain in New Atlas, “leading initially to huge increases in productivity, and eventually, many believe, to huge increases in unemployment.”

Who’s under threat?

Coders, software engineers, computer programmers, and data analysts top the list of jobs tha could be taken over by AI tools, according to Business Insights. They also sounded a death knell for human content creators, including journalists.  Paralegals and legal assistants, teachers, and financial or market research analysts should also be looking into other lines of work. Customer service and accounting jobs round out the list.

Knowledge workers and people providing professional services may be the most likely to lose their jobs to AI. Blue collar workers may be safe in their jobs until robots can reliably pick up and manipulate a variety of objects.

But at the point where AI and successful humanoid robotics are merged to create AI-powered robots with high levels of dexterity, human workers in many fields may either be out of a job or facing lower wages for their work. Elon Musk said that “physical labor will become a choice,” and Business Insider suggests that human beings are already choosing not to do physical work.

So what will humans do?

Musk’s solution is Universal Basic Income. The Washington Post, on the other hand, points out that we still pay people to make sandwiches for us, even though we could do it ourselves. The alternative to hiring human beings to do a job is, for the ones who do the hiring, having to steer machinery through the task themselves. Operators for automated systems will still be needed.

Their productivity will be increased, but someone still has to do something to get the work done.

If your Indramat systems need a human helping hand, we should be your first call. We are Indramat specialists, providing factory repair and reman for legacy components that will keep your Indramat drive and control systems running smoothly for many more years. Call for immediate assistance.


Image courtesy of Adrian Sulyok