I’m a translator, so technology development is pretty significant as a factor in whether I still have a job in 20 years. On the one hand, machine translation software and translation memories reduce the amount of money I get for a single document, but on the other hand they aren’t good enough to replace a translator altogether. There is also a lot of pressure from poorer countries where people can offer much cheaper rates, but often with less accuracy.
The EU collapsing would probably have a much greater impact on my work, as the EU is the world’s largest translation provider and client (and provides work for many translation companies and freelance translators that aren’t full time EU employees). Dreaming a little, it might be worthwhile for such a large organisation to develop a system where texts to be translated into many languages are first extensively parsed to make the structure and meaning as clear as possible for computers. Combined with the existing large corpus of existing EU translations, you could theoretically make machine translations a lot more accurate, making a few people very rich and automating a lot of the work that keep people like me employed.
I used to be an English teacher and see a lot of potential for automation to take over there too - while a teacher is irreplaceable for certain tasks, online language learning can replace (and even greatly improve on) a lot of the classroom experience for a small fraction of the cost. Even conversation with native speakers is crowdsourced and people are willing to do language exchange for free, while paying the website for the privilege. Sites like Duolinguo offer crowdsourced translations that are integrated with the language learning, but I am very skeptical of this model at any scale.
I think in both cases the only way forward is up, and people have to demonstrate that they are better than a computer or the large number of people offering the same services for free or at a rate that is impossible to match.You also need to embrace the technological change and possibly change your way of working to incorporate it. My teaching expanded from using books and other material in class, then assigning homework to additionally introducing students to the tools available online and guiding their learning. In online translation, I made sure that I was more flexible and worked harder to build up the trust of a number of production managers. For a while this meant being prepared to answer emails within 5 minutes at 3 am until the PM started contacting me personally with work at a more reasonable hour. Ultimately there’s a lot of pressure on people in general and the barriers to entry are getting higher, but it is possible to demonstrate that you are worth a reasonable salary.
Seriously though, I consider languages to be the easiest ‘difficult’ subject. You get a lot of respect in the UK for knowing multiple languages and a lot of that learning can take the form of reading, talking with people, watching movies, travelling etc. When you graduate, you have more tools to be mobile with your career. Combining languages with another major seems to me to be a great way to expand your options.