- Posted by Laurie I on February 16, 2017 in Global Economies Technology
If you’ve been out and about lately, you’ve probably noticed that more and more things are being done by computers. Everything from supermarket checkouts to accountants are being automated. Even some web articles are written by computers (not this one though – don’t worry). We’ve all heard the stories about how robots are going to take over the world and that this rise in automation is going to steal our jobs, but is this really going to happen? Maybe eventually, but today we’re going to take you through our top tips for coping with the technological uprising in this article.
Don’t Be Afraid
The most important thing in coping with any change is to remember that change is unstoppable and just a fact of life. We can spend our entire lives scared of the future, or we can simply embrace it. Automation, while scary because it could potentially take away our jobs, is efficient and has plenty of benefits – for example, self-driving cars are on the way and they’re going to be safer and faster than the cars we drive by ourselves. Ultimately, technology improves our lives, so it’s nothing to fear.
The key to surviving change is to be adaptable and good at learning and trying new things. Taxi-drivers may have thought that Uber, the transportation network app, would leave them begging on the streets, but many taxi-drivers have simply adapted and become Uber-drivers.
Technology takes jobs away, but it also creates new positions. Roles like social media marketing or professional Youtubing are huge professions in 2017 – and it basically didn’t exist ten years ago. Similarly, many software packages have reduced the need for professions like accounting in some areas, but caused a boom in others (especially tax consulting, auditing and standard compliance to help the computers). Even the dreaded “self-checkouts” at supermarkets require higher levels of security and monitoring, since they’re easier to steal from, creating many jobs.
What is important is that we need to be willing to learn new skills as they become necessary – and usually this doesn’t take much of a switch because it happens gradually and can build on your other skills. For example, homeowners can use AirBnB to find people willing to rent out rooms in their home and leverage their existing hospitality skills.
Even tradies are feeling the tech boom, with many utilising software such as TradiePad which is a service which provides them with the latest apps to manage their timesheets, job costing and business accounting. This allows them to spend less time on these things and more time doing what they’re qualified to do – such as building more houses, managing teams and tendering for more lucrative work.
It’s also worth noting that technology has changed the ways data can be gathered. Google, for example, uses algorithms to track your search patterns. This information can be then used to target specific advertising at you, that is suitable to your interests. From a consumer perspective, you hear about more relevant products and services. From a business perspective, less advertising money is wasted on consumers with no interest in a product, decreasing the risk of advertising. This also allows a company to learn more about their clients and customers, ultimately allowing them to better fulfil client needs – and it no longer costs an arm and a leg. This leads to a more efficient economy with less waste than we had without technology.
Change Your Perspective
Over the next twenty or more years, work is going to change. It’s likely we’ll see less of the traditional 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday 40 hour work week and more of a “gig economy” where people are self-employed and do a number of small jobs like blogging, AirBnB and freelance contracting. Technology allows us to get more done in less time.
Computers will be advanced enough to do everything humans can do eventually (and more), meaning that all humans would be out of employment.
Currently Finland is trying to solve this through a universal basic income (UBI), which means that everyone would get a set amount of money each week from the government for food, rent and expenses. If this works and computers do replace all employees, the human race will likely begin to rethink the way they look at “work”. Going to work each week will eventually be something humans don’t have to do. If you’re interested in reading more, this article featuring Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, raises some great potential issues and predictions with the future.
No-one knows what the future will hold – but there’s nothing to be scared of.
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