People Share Which Skills Are Dying Out In Society


Culture is always evolving. Eventually, certain jobs that used to be career staples soon become outdated. Think, do we really need elevator operators anymore? This doesn't account for skills that seem to fade away over time, be it a lack of interest or an advancement in technology. Sometimes, you just can't beat time. Or boredom.

Reddit user, u/kgapc, wanted to know about what skills we're in risk of losing when they asked:

In society, what skills are on the verge of dying?

Just A Hobby


Blacksmithing is now for artisans and hobbyists. There's virtually no such thing as a commercial blacksmith anymore.

Which is kind of amazing if you think about it, because blacksmithing was THE single most valuable talent in many civilizations for many centuries.


Focusing On The Wrong Skill

Donald Knuth was working on a series of computer science books back in the 1970s. He noticed that typesetting, good quality typesetting, was being lost, being replaced by computer typesetting, written by programmers who knew nothing about typesetting. He thought he'd take a year or so to preserve this by writing his own typesetting program (TeX), and it took something like a decade.

So he spent a decade trying to preserve something instead of preserving the computer science knowledge he thought was important. It's not fully clear whether he succeeded or not.


Writing Faster Than Normal


My mom used to teach it in the '80s and still writes notes using it. But I can think of zero people besides her who know it.


A Look Behind The Law Curtains

I was among the last group of law students who learned how to do certain types of legal research by hand in a law library. There are special problems in legal research (you find a case that supports your position, but how do you know if it's still applicable. Maybe the case was decided in San Francisco but a higher court overturned the precedent, or a federal court overturned it, or another court cited the case and expanded on the reasoning. There used to be actual systems for tracking down the evolution of the legal significance and reasoning of each case. Took a looooong time.

Now you just type the case into a computer and it comes up in a second.


Hand drawn drafting. Especially proper lettering technique.


Took a CAD class in high school (13-17) and we still had to learn how to draft by hand for the majority of the first year. Second year really started CAD and by the third year we had nice projects to add to a portfolio. I can definitely see how people would gloss over the hand drafting aspect when the computer can do everything you need.


No One Respects Repairs


Not dying really, but in most first world countries menial and semi skilled tasks like tailoring and repairs (home and electronic) are generally becoming of lower quality and of higher price, as there are less people willing to offer it at a good price, (you don't know how skilled they are until you've already paid) and less people currently willing to learn these skills to a high standard.

Although my theory is that there will be a resurgence in these jobs as automation takes over since there is no easy way yet to automate repairs.


Why Read Yourself When It's Read To You?

Reading a map. Some people I work with can't get to places in their own town without following exactly what their phone says.


I'm a paramedic. I was in seemingly the last big group of people trained before GPS became common. It's scary how many of my coworkers have no idea how to look at a map and get from point A to B.


Even Skills You Never Knew Were Lost

Making sea silk. If I'm not mistaking only one senior women still does. Not in my society, but in A society.


What is sea silk?


Here you go :)


this was way more interesting than i thought it was going to be

wanted to laugh at a lady who knits clam hairs, but damn she is a true artist.


Triple D

Does no one here leave the house? People still hold the door for each other, people are still nice to servers, and people can still write. I don't think the world is nearly as bad as y'all see it. Manners, empathy, and grammar still exist.

My actual answer: does anyone know the Dewey decimal system without looking it up?


Everything With Your Hands

Old school trades. Cobblestone work, cobbler-shop work, Sheet metal work, machinist work, etc.

My dad and uncle run a British Sports Car restoration shop in NJ (MG, Triumph, Austin Healy and Jaguar). They just hired a body guy, he's in his 80s and he does stuff with sheet metal that I didn't think was possible. There's body work he does where 99% of people in this industry would just say "scrap it and buy a new piece". These are truly dying trades/skills, or at least it has seemed to.


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