Watching a number of people I know, navigate the process of finding new jobs has me pondering the future. While industry (tech, finance, medical, manufacturing) has been evolving, I find that the 80/20 rule still applies to most traditional business. (You know, 80% of resources are applied to staying in business) Yet, we are on the brink of several major disruptive economic and social shifts. (That means there still is time and opportunity for the curmudgeons and tragically ridged to make an income. At least for a little while longer.)
The data streams (traditional and digital news, social media, face to face conversations) present that many people are are having difficulty finding a reasonable job. That the economic shifts have made their skill sets obsolete or soon to be. The fact that this is happening in real time over so many sources, the fact that I am now referencing “streams,” is a telling sign of the shifts in communication, in information distribution, in progress.
One example: We are on the cusp of a global manufacturing disruption (Oh yeah, the “D” word), a change from cheap human labor to “local” cheap automated labor. We are improving not only the on-demand delivery of “stuff,” but the “on” demand creation of stuff. (On demand delivery of digital is much easier than physical goods) We will also be replacing menial tasks with smart robots and improved AI. People who have made their livelihood being unskilled/semi-skilled automatons will be driven to re-educate or become obsolete. This will continue to accelerate “shared” and “as a service” economics.
These changes have been moving forward since the industrial revolution and are driving forward at an ever accelerating rate. Once we were an agrarian society where 70+% of people worked on farms. When technology made human labor on farms obsolete, those resources shifted to supporting a manufacturing economy. Soon, each of us will either be in the business of providing personal services (hospitality, fitness, education, and self-enhancement) or supporting the next transitional economy, an AI enhanced, robot supported, data-driven economy. The sci-fi writers had it right, and if we don’t see another global crisis (war, plague, disaster) we won’t be in a dystopia, but something that more resembles Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek.
If you are complaining because you can’t find a job, it is time you realized you are bringing this on yourself. There are more opportunities in this world than ever before. With the transference of menial, dangerous and arduous tasks to intelligent devices and robots, new opportunities become available for anyone with a desire for growth and change. The newest entrepreneurs and those who embrace the coming changes will be real leaders in 10-15 years. Anyone fighting these changes will be rendered obsolete and left behind. It isn’t sad, it may be frustrating, change is the way of the world.