Yesterday, on 60 minutes (a prime-time TV news program in the US) there was a story: Are Robots Hurting Job Growth. In this session, Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee of MIT were interviewed – they wrote Race Against the Machine a couple of years ago. They discussed the changes taking place during this econmic downturn at the technological intersection of automation and employment. The concept of a jobless recovery is one that I’ve mentioned on this blog a few times before. This news interview added some other perspectives about the implications, showing that the employment situation may not be as bleak as some say.
There are a number of things that we can all do to help with this shift in expectations and skills:
1) Support STEM education in schools – more of these skills will be required going forward.
2) Invest time and resources on innovative ideas, turning them into actual innovation – and of course encourage others who are doing the same.
3) Collaborate since diversity of perspective accelerates innovation
I always use cloud computing as an example of the kind of automation and innovation that will be coming to other business processes (outside of IT). In a very short time, it has become the expectation that an organization can spin up hundreds or even thousands of virtual machines. Something that was inconceivable just a few years ago. We are all benefiting from cloud automation and whole new types of opportunities (and jobs) are developing.