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How Machines Destroy and Create Jobs

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“There’s just doesn’t seem to be many blacksmith jobs these days.”

At first glance, this would be a ridiculous thing to say. Of course there aren’t many blacksmiths around. We live in a modern society and machines do a way better job of making things from metal anyways.

However, it also raises an important point.

What if machines are better at driving long-haul trucks? What if machines are better servers at McDonald’s? What if robots did your taxes for you?

While some of these ideas are contentious today, in the future we may look back thinking that our fears were ill-placed. The truth is that the job landscape is constantly in flux as technology changes.

Some of today’s jobs with high automation potential may be the future “blacksmiths”, and we should not be surprised if they go away. The best thing that we can do is to understand these trends and build a set of skills that will be in demand in any market.

The Trend is Your Friend

The following graphics from NPR shows the evolution of jobs over time in the United States.

The first divides jobs into four main categories: white collar, blue collar, farming, and services. It shows how the composition of the overall job market has changed over the last 165 years:

US Jobs by Type (Percentage)

The second shows the same information, but plotted by the total number of jobs:

US Jobs by Type (Total)

There were 10 million farmers in America in the early 20th century.

Now there’s closer to one million, and yet those farmers produce way more food. Technology may have “killed off” the majority of farm jobs, but at the same time new technology created jobs in the service, blue collar, and white collar industries.

We may now be at a similar inflection point for other careers – this interactive graphic shows some of the jobs that have been on the decline in recent years.

In 1960, a whopping 11% of the workforce was employed in factories. Today only 4% are employed in factories.

In the late 1970s, almost 5% of the workforce was secretaries. Today, we’re at about half that, but professionals can be just as productive without a secretary thanks to better computer software.

Yes, there are globalization issues at play here as well, but even a modern domestic factory such as the Tesla Gigafactory (which has the largest building by footprint in the world) will only employ about 6,000 people. The majority of the work will be done by robots.

And while it seems scary to think about the rise of machines and a faster pace of technological advancement, it’s important to recognize that these types of sweeping changes to the job market have happened throughout history.

The point is, try not to be the 21st century version of a “blacksmith”.

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Nvidia is Worth More Than All of These Companies Combined

Gain a unique perspective on the market cap of Nvidia in this simple graphic.

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Putting the Market Cap of Nvidia Into Perspective

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Nvidia’s massive rise in the AI era has been well-documented, but did you know that it’s currently the world’s third most valuable company?

To put the massive market cap of Nvidia into perspective, we’ve put it side by side with a collection of other major U.S. tech companies.

All figures were sourced from Companiesmarketcap.com, and are as of May 23, 2024.


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Data and Takeaways

All of the numbers we used to create this graphic are included in the table below.

CompanyMarket Cap
(as of May 23, 2024)
Nvidia$2.5T
Meta$1.2T
Tesla$553B
Netflix$272B
AMD$257B
Intel$128B
IBM$157B

These figures are even more impressive when you consider that at the beginning of 2020, Nvidia was valued at a relatively tiny $145 billion.

Since then, the company has greatly surpassed other American chipmakers like Intel and AMD. This growth is due to several key factors:

  • Expansion into AI and data centers: Nvidia’s chips are highly effective for AI training, making them essential for companies engaged in machine learning and generative AI
  • Advancements in AI software: Nvidia has developed AI software platforms, such as CUDA-X and TensorRT, which are widely used by researchers.
  • Strong financial performance: Nvidia has consistently delivered strong financial results in recent years, with substantial revenue growth.

Closing in on Apple

With Nvidia’s latest stock surge (up 13.5% over the past five days ending May 24, 2024), the company could possibly overtake Apple to become the world’s second most valuable company.

Microsoft, another major player in AI, holds the #1 spot with a market cap of $3.2 trillion.

See More Visuals on Nvidia

If you enjoyed this graphic, be sure to check out this graphic that breaks down Nvidia’s revenue by product line, from 2019 to 2024.


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