Hear that sound? It's the robots. They're coming for you. Well not you specifically, but your job at least. Automation is on the upswing and it's only a matter of time before we're all thinking about how to make ourselves more employable. "Automation?" you say. "Surely not me! I am a (designer/developer/architect/content creator)! I can never be replaced by robots!" Au contraire my friend- the robots will one day come for your job too. Don't believe me? Have a look at this 15 minute documentary called, 'Humans Need Not Apply.' See you after the jump.
The Robot Revolution and You
Ok so that video might have been a bit depressing. I can't make any promises that, 'everything will be ok' and 'it'll all work out in the end' because we've never been here before in human history.
So how does this affect you specifically? Well, you could have a look at this scholarly paper by the Oxford Martin school which lists (at the end) 702 careers and how likely they are to be automated. In a more recent paper by the same group, it was estimated that 47% of all US jobs were at high risk of automation, with another 19% at medium risk.
Within the next few years, we're going to see the collapse of the driving industry as self driving cars take over the roads. That friendly Uber driver you just thanked? He's going to be looking for work real soon. Your truck driving uncle? Same. Our labor force is going to be facing a drastic turn very soon- and many highly skilled workers will join them. If only there was a growing tech industry with zero automation that lacks manpower right now. Oh wait.
VR/AR is the Answer...For Now
The VR/AR industry is projected to be big. Not just big- MONSTER big. Fortune estimates that VR and AR will be a 150 billion dollar industry by 2020- only 4 years away as of this writing! That's stupid fast growth.
The thing about automation in VR is that the industry has to understand it before it can automate anything. We can't automate virtual worlds because we haven't even begun figuring out how to build them. We can't automate virtual games because we've only scratched the surface of what's possible. Virtual productivity applications? Virtual search engines? Virtual web browsers? These things only exist in their primitive infancy and won't reach full maturity for at least 5 years. And the hardware- while we are already seeing great consumer grade hardware coming out (such as the recent Gear VR launch), we are probably at least 5 years away from ultra high resolution, so-good-it-might-as-well-be-real quality of experiences.
The point I'm trying to make is- if you invest your brain into learning VR right now, you're going to stay employed.
Think of the folks who learned how to build smartphone games and apps when the iPhone came out- how much cash they now roll in. That could be you. That could be me. We're right here on the cusp of the Next Big Thing.
Are you ready?