It is said the best way to predict the future, is to build it yourself. The year 2017 is now upon us! The new year, pregnant with opportunity beyond imagination will surely bring out winners and losers in every arena of life. In the world of technology, the stage has been set for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Robotics to shape the coming year (and the careers of millions of people) in an unprecedented way. The series of events coming will be swift and aggressive. In the 2017, for your career, will you end up a winner or a loser? Use the weapon that is in your hand to win the year!
Vespasian ruled Rome from AD 69 to AD 79. The emperor was one of the first heads of state to encourage the development of art, science and technology. Vespasian was also one of the first heads of state to fear technology’s impact on workers. When an engineer offered a low-cost transportation machine for moving heavy columns to the capital, Vespasian paid the engineer handsomely for his invention, but decided not to use the machine, saying, “You must allow my poor hauliers to earn their bread.”
This was just the beginning of a long debate on technology and unemployment. Those who constantly rang the warning bells that technology would replace humanity have proven themselves wrong time and time again, as over the last 2,000 years our quality of life has increased with technological advancements and jobs have been plentiful. But like everything, it is true until it is not.
Indeed, 2,000 years after Vespasian worried about his hauliers, Uber launched the first commercial driverless cars in Pittsburgh with the support of the city’s Democratic mayor. While Pittsburgh is just a testing ground for Uber, the Google driverless car has already driven almost 2 million miles.
At the same time Uber launched its driverless car, Austin’s Democratic city council essentially banned Uber from doing business in the city.
The tale of Pittsburgh and Austin offers an early glimpse into the battle that is coming. The same political party embraced two extraordinarily contradictory polices in response to a similar opportunity/threat.
Machine learning, big data and robotics are all separate technologies, but they are becoming interwoven and are feeding off each other.
These new technologies are designed not to enhance workers’ capabilities but replace them altogether. When the car replaced the horse it still needed a driver. But when the driverless car replaces the car, there will be no driver — and to top it off, the car will be manufactured by robotics.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the skills required to outperform the machines are getting significantly greater. Throughout history, technology has continued to make obsolete specific jobs, but overall employment has grown as people have developed new skills that made them more productive. When machines took over the farm, those workers were able to be deployed in manufacturing with minimal training. This is no longer true, as technology will soon replace anything that is remotely repetitive and unskilled.
There is a role that governments can play to ensure the future of the careers of many people (and the families that depend on them), in an effort to stop the vanishing of jobs, however ultimately how your future plays out is totally your responsibility. The decision to commit yourself to life-long learning, adjusting your career in the direction where technology is going, is a decision that only you can make.
In all major industries in our nation, dramatic changes are happening swiftly and aggressively that are getting rid of hundreds and thousands of low skilled jobs seemingly overnight. Banks are closing more branches around the country leaving hundreds of affected Bank Tellers in limbo. Some big retailers have already tested self-service checkouts, questioning the future of thousands of till-point operators.
In 2017, make your career growth your business. Re-evaluate the relevance and marketability of your skills-set in the current economy and identify future growth opportunities for your profession. If you notice low demand for work opportunities aligned to your profession, that’s a sure sign that you need to expand your skill set, through further education. 2017 is year that is ready for the taking. Education is the weapon that will ensure the growth and future of your career in 2017 and weapon. Use that weapon!
At LGIT Smart Solutions, our mission is to equip you with the skills that you need to use technology to your advantage in any business field you may be. Discover the training, certifications and courses we are offering in 2017, by visiting our website www.lgit.co.za