The world needs ditch diggers too. NOT!

Real Estate Agent with HomeSmart SA541769000

When I was growing up my father used to have a phrase that he would use whenever he encountered someone that in his opinion was not very smart or not very motivated. He would say, “Not everyone can be President, the world needs ditch diggers too.”

Unfortunately, that prophecy may no longer be true. Despite that many people believe government policy is to blame for the loss of jobs, the reality is that automation is cause for the loss of most labor-intensive jobs. And as Artificial Intelligence (AI) is perfected to a greater degree the change will only spread to a wider set of skills.

Today, we are seeing self-driving cars & trucks which will ultimately replace truck drivers, cab drivers, delivery drivers, and yes, even Uber drivers.

On a recent 60 minutes interview, venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee stated that many repetitive jobs, regardless of skill level, will disappear. When asked what type of jobs will be affected he stated. “Basically chauffeurs, truck drivers anyone who does driving for a living their jobs will be disrupted more in the 15 to 20 year time frame and many jobs that seem a little bit complex, chef, waiter, a lot of things will become automated we'll have automated stores, automated restaurants, and altogether in 15 years, that's going to displace about 40 percent of the jobs in the world.”

Even though today we still have ditch diggers, most construction jobs now make use of power equipment to make the job go faster and easier. It will not be very long before a fully automated machine will dig the ditch without even an onsite operator.




What is a young person that is faced with this massive change in society to do? As I see it, there is only one option. Instead of falling back on the old adage “The world needs ditch diggers, too.” Embrace the change. Learn from it, make use of it and become an expert on how to manage it. Find a way to fit into the changing world instead of clinging to skills that are no longer needed. Resistance is futile. It will only create a lost and bitter population.

Of course, you could become an artist, an actor or blogger. After all who wants to read a blog that is written by a computer?


Joe Domino is a Realtor® serving the Phoenix & Scottsdale metro area. You can find more great information by visiting his website at

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  1. Sally K. & David L. Hanson 01/20/2019 06:26 PM
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William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Well if 40% of the jobs are replaced you will finally see that technology is not always good

Jan 20, 2019 05:06 PM #1
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

The trades are begging for people,....can't say ditch diggers but licensed plumbers, electricians...apprentices in carpentry...perhaps not technologically "glamorous"...but in demand. College is not for everyone....options need exploration.

Jan 20, 2019 06:23 PM #2
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

I saw that same interview, Joseph and thankfully, I believe that all of this will come to pass after I've passed! I can't imagine how people will survice, given the changes Lee predicted.

Jan 20, 2019 09:23 PM #3
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

I have given quite a lot of thought to the future of jobs around the globe, especially with atomization and robotic AI endeavors.  I suspect it will end like days of our past, when stagecoach drivers were replaced by bus drivers, airplane pilots, etc.  We will simply need to shift the educational curriculum to accommodate new needs as the old ones disappear.  It's part of the reason that education (and re-education) needs to be a life-long pursuit.

Jan 21, 2019 02:05 AM #4
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Joseph. Your point is very well made. While I think much will be automated I believe something is lost with people.

Jan 21, 2019 05:03 AM #5
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

The world is going to need a lot of computer programmers and those well versed in micro-processor engineering.  

Jan 21, 2019 11:59 AM #6

Yeah sure. When I was a kid they all said we'ed have flying cars and complete meals in pill form. It's NEVER gonna happen because NOBODY WANTS IT!.

Feb 06, 2019 03:31 PM #7
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