Humans Need Not Apply

Humans Need Not Apply

This blog is part of our Total Life Optimisation series that explores productivity, nutrition, futurism and all other topics around effective living.

In a time long forgotten, the streets of our city were filled with horses. We used them to move around our goods. They were the only way to move long distances, and their numbers were at an all-time high. But then the car came.


The number of horses that were needed took a nosedive. No more were they needed for moving stuff around. But hey, now they could have a life of leisure, do some shows and roam free. Alas, it was not to be. Because the horses weren’t needed anymore to fulfil important jobs, they themselves weren’t needed anymore. And so started the rapid decline in their numbers.


This blog is not about horses. It’s about humans, and where cars replaced horses, machines will replace us. From ‘dumb’ factory robots to Go-playing AI, the machines are coming. Where in the last century they mostly replaced manual labour, nowadays almost any job is up for grabs. Here are some examples:

  • If you’ve logged into Skype recently, then you probably noticed the chatbots they have installed. For many queries, they can do the job of a human, or even better.
  • On the TV show, Suits, you see them looking through old cases to defend their side. What if a machine could look through the whole database in a matter of seconds?
  • And your brilliant doctor that is looking at your X-rays? What if IBM Watson could do a better job of spotting a tumour? Who would you give your X-rays to?


Automation is blind to the colour of your collar. In every job where there is some repetition, a machine will be coming for you. But then, where are humans still needed? Humans are (at the moment) still better at creativity or high-level thinking. We can combine concepts in novel ways that no-one has ever done before. And we humans should take on another job, thinking of how our society should look like in the future. First jobs moved from production to service, now they might evolve further. And if they don’t, should we have a universal basic income? And what should we do with our time? Enjoy eternal bliss in VR?

What are your thoughts on the future of jobs? Share them on our forum!

Floris Wolswijk

MSc in Industrial & Organisational Psychology. Floris has started two companies before. In his student life, he was President of his Study Association and Director of a Student Strategy Consultancy. He participates in obstacle runs and has energy for two. Getting the right things done is what he gets up for in the morning.

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