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Worried machines will take your job one day? Vala Afshar tweets some food for thought

The automation threat to jobs is not a new one.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 17, 2019, 04.00 PM IST
Afshar tweeted an example of how automation took over the 'knocker upper' job.
From manufacturing to service, jobs across industries are being threatened by automation /digitization. Recently, food aggregator Zomato laid off 540 employees from its customer support team due to the automation of certain processes.

“Over the last few months, we have seen our technology products and platforms evolve and improve significantly. We have dramatically improved the speed of service resolution, such that now only 7.5 per cent of our orders need support,” the company had said in a statement.

While the automation threat to jobs is real, people often forget that automation is part and parcel of growth. Over the centuries, every industry has seen jobs evolve (or disappear) as automation enters. Recently, Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist – Salesforce, shared an example of how automation did away with the “knocker upper” job in the 1920s.

What is a “Knocker Upper”?
As Afshar mentions, the “knocker upper” was a person who would knock on people’s windows at a pre-arranged time to wake them up. The trade, which spread throughout the 19th century and partially the 20th , was mainly prevalent in industrial areas where workers were required to work the early shift but could not afford their own watches. It was also used by dock workers who had to wake at odd hours.

To make sure that only the person who paid for their services who would be woken up, they used a long fishing-rod like stick with a knob at the end to tap on windows. Charles Dickens is said to have referenced one such ‘knocker upper’ in his novel 'Great Expectations'.

As alarm clocks became more affordable, the trade petered out but some reports suggest that it still existed in certain mill towns even up to the 1970s.

Is Automation the End?
Afshar may or may not have intended to draw a direct comparison between “knocker uppers” and automation fears today but one can’t help but notice the timeliness of his tweet.

Nearbuy CEO Ankur Warikoo was more direct in drawing a connection, asking a question that’s been on everyone’s minds.

Be A Sharp Cookie At Work: Update Your Skills, Keep Learning To Stay Relevant

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Licence To Reskill

1 Aug, 2019
Amazon plans to retrain nearly a third of its workers in the US. This is how you can reskill yourself to adapt to new markets. Adaptability is the order of the day. It’s important to ride along with the change so that you don’t get left behind. Amazon US is training 100,000 workers in new skills, such as machine learning and even nursing. Whether it’s recession, boredom or job insecurity that’s the cause, reskilling can only be a boon for your career. Take a look at how you can keep yourself updated in the ever-changing workforce:

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