Software is eating our jobs ... but some jobs are safer than others

By John Sheridan >>

SOFTWARE automates processes and activities and as well as delivering benefits in efficiency, productivity and reliability, it also ‘eats jobs’.

Artificial Intelligence (AI), 3D printing, Augmented Reality, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Cloud services, BIM, GPS, 5G, Cryptocurrency, Cybersecurity, Drones, Digital Identity, IP protection, Robots, Virtual Reality, Amazon, Airbnb, Freelancer, Google, Uber etc and even ‘fake news’ and manipulation of elections are all driven by software.

And many of the tasks that software now does so well used to be done by a person. 

As a result, businesses and other organisations can do ‘more with less’. Businesses and other organisations can become more profitable because of ‘reduced payroll’. Businesses and other organisations can become more productive.

Undoubtedly, there is a huge upside. Software improves just about every aspect of our day-to-day lives. But there is a cost. 

Cyber bullying. Scams. Loss of privacy. Identity theft. Security. Intrusion. Facial recognition. Fake news. Electoral interference.


These are the more obvious costs. But there is another cost and that is job destruction.

About half of all jobs can be done better by software. And at almost no cost. 

ED Toolbox ( is a simple tool to help students and parents better understand how disruptive technology (software) is changing the world.

Used wisely, students and parents can make better study and work choices, and even begin to help sort out the world of work, by creating new jobs themselves.

All the effort in the world to retrain people, help them gain new skills, change attitudes and expectations will come to nothing if businesses and other organisations no longer need those capabilities, because the operational process or activity has been replaced by software. 

We live in a country where half the working population is in small business. Software comes in – a person goes out. And that adds up to a lot of people.

The July figures from Roy Morgan Research show 8.7 percent of the workforce is unemployed and another 9.6 percent under employed – 18.3 percent. See Roy Morgan for more details. 

We are a rich country with many resources and, in response to this challenge, we should focus on building our productive industries – agriculture, creative industry, defence, education, ICT, medical and health, manufacturing, mining services, smart trades and tourism. 

There is a lot we can do to manage the future. And we need to do everything we can. But we can start by helping students and parents – who are challenged by these changes – better understand the impact of disruptive technologies, and the industries under threat. This is about their study and work future.

Then students and parents can make better choices, and even begin to help sort out the world of work, by creating jobs themselves.

We have the resources, the productive industries and there is no lack of good will. If we can just harness these collaboratively then the future looks good.


Entrepreneurialism needs to become universal. We are an amazingly well resourced country. We just have to husband our resources like farmers, with intelligence, and a clear vision for a productive industry led future.

ED Toolbox is a tool created for students and parents. 

We are now configuring a version of ED Toolbox for high schools, which will include Groups, Resource Library and Events mapped to a region.

ED Toolbox for High Schools is designed to connect all high schools in a region to local businesses, TAFE, universities, incubators, parents and P&Cs, so that study and work discussions can be timely, relevant and real. And so that students can choose the best pathway for the future.

ED Toolbox is simple. It outlines how technology is impacting 19 industry sectors and 400 business categories. 

It shows the level of threat and opportunity for each category and provides examples of how organisations are using technology in a positive way. Sign up and explore your future today.

John Sheridan is CEO of Digital Business insights, an organisation based in Brisbane, Australia, which focuses on helping businesses and communities adapt to, and flourish in, the new digital world. He is the author of Connecting the Dots and getting more out of the digital revolution. Digital Business insights (DBi) has been researching and analysing the digital revolution for more than 20 years and has surveyed more than 50,000 businesses, conducting in-depth case study analysis on more than 350 organisations and digital entrepreneurs. Now DBi is turning that research into action through a series of digital business development platforms, the latest of which is the ED Toolbox.

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