The Amazon model and the future of jobs PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 February 2018 11:30

By Remedios F. Marmoleño

If I were still in my 30’s or 40”s and working for a paycheck I would be concerned about the future of my job. These thoughts were sparked by an article on Amazon’s supermarket which does not have checkout counters. How many other kinds of jobs as we know them today would be so totally changed in the near future or eliminated altogether?

Amazon is the company  founded  by entrepreneur Jeff Bezos. The original Amazon sold books online but over the 24 years since it was founded in 1994 it is no longer  just  selling books but just about everything else. Amazon has been referred to as the Everything Store. The company has been so successful that Forbes has listed its founder as  the  richest man in the world, whose net worth is estimated to be in the area of $110 billion as of the end of 2017.

Amazon is just not a very successful enterprise but one which has used technology to propel it to the front of the retailing business. As the Everything Store it not only sells merchandise but also delivers your purchase/s to your address. At one time it delivered using drones. It probably still does.

The latest article on Amazon  dealt with how a shopper can go into a brick-and-mortar Amazon supermarket where a shopper can pick up an item and put it into his/her shopping bag and all the items  chosen get listed automatically in the shopper’s phone and payment for the items are debited against the shopper’s account. There are no check-out lines in the Amazon supermarket. Don’t ask me how this is made possible. A more savvy person can explain it to you.

The article caught my attention because, like other articles dealing with technology applications in business, I thought about the implications of this on human employment. With artificial intelligence and robotics frequently being seen applied to activities that used to be carried out only by humans, what does the future hold for such jobs?

At present our concerns are for finding jobs for people who need jobs. Think of our OFWs, the economic refugees from Africa into Europe, the immigration issue between the US and countries like Mexico and Guatemala. What would be the impact of technology applications to the jobs that might absorb these workers?

With the jobs market changing, what implications would this have on education?

I am not thinking of  what it will be like 50 years from now. We have to telescope things and think in terms of 10 years or even shorter. If we don’t get hopping we will realize that the future has come and we are not ready.