Technological unemployment is a term used largely by economists to explain a state in which staggering innovations and technological developments result to a lack of jobs. After the industrial revolution that was characterized by manual labor, there were great technological advances made which utilized machines therefore rendering manual labor redundant. Since many factories and mills employed an extensive workforce, lots of people were forced to go home since they were no longer useful. Efficiency and output proliferated although this led to massive unemployment.
Scholars and economists usually categorize technological unemployment as a form of structural unemployment which is a situation symbolized by lots of people who have skills yet these skills are rendered irrelevant in a labor market that has jobs requiring specific skills. And when these people become jobless for extended durations of time, chances of securing other employment opportunities grow dimmer.
Instances of Technological Unemployment
• Cashiers-banking services today have and are still undergoing automation. Self check-in and check-out machines which can count currencies and notes more efficiently are one example of innovations that will in time lead to technological unemployment of banking cashiers.
• Toll station operators-these individuals are found in many countries and will most likely be replaced by automated pass systems which have proved more efficient in cases where they have been implemented.
• Print media-the emergence of online and digital newspapers and tabloids will in time render some of these workers jobless once it catches up. The effects are already being felt in this sector thanks to a global community established by the Internet where blogging and online magazines are increasing by the day leading to a reduction of magazines on the stands. Other sectors utilizing assembly line workers are also being affected as witnessed during the Great Depression that saw lots of people lose their jobs with the emergence of factories.
• Post offices-this sector has already witnessed widespread technological unemployment. Many post office services have been replaced by the emergence of alternatives such as email and with almost everyone preaching for a greener environment, the need to conserve trees is growing. This goes for all other industries utilizing lots of paper.
• Teaching-some people say that technology can never replace human-human interaction. However, the rapid technological advancement has led and continues to see more and more people join online classes. This sector will also witness visible changes with time.