“Drones are one of the hot spots of the aerospace industry. The private space industry is another, with companies from Elon Musk’s well-funded SpaceX to startups running out of dorm rooms as they rush to develop everything from low-earth satellite mapping and tracking to colonizing the moon and beyond.
But a funny thing happened on the way to aerospace’s future. The automation that was supposed to obliterate tens of thousands of jobs seems on closer examination less like a steamroller and more like a water flume, full of twists and turns that will transform jobs in unexpected ways. It will replace some positions and create new ones, not as some irresistible force but shaped by what consumers want, how governments regulate, and the evolution of cultural norms.
The aerospace industry could serve as a window into how these trends will reshape American employment in the years ahead. Some experts foresee technology moving quickly to change aerospace employment within a few years. But more cautious observers suggest that the transition could take decades. In that case, job losses to automation wouldn’t come as a shock to the system, but part of the more natural ebb and flow in employment trends.”