Opinion: Why Automation Will Create, Not Destroy, Jobs

automation

Author: Anurag Harsh
Source: Huffington Post

If you have been watching political tectonics on both sides of the Atlantic, you may have noticed that analysts are increasingly getting it wrong: “it” being economics, politics, and social trends. The all of it, wrong. Why is this?

Not in Kansas Anymore

We are now deep into a digital transformation, and a new way of thinking and working and living. The business models of our past are faltering. Legacy thinking is virtually unfit for this digital age. The reality is that the conditions within which humanity operates are not what they used to be. Yet, thousands of self-proclaimed experts continue their important work with obsolete methods and mindsets, outdated hardware and software.

A prime example of this is the hysteria that surrounds automation and artificial intelligence. Almost every newspaper and media outlet warns of an apocalyptic future when technology will fracture the employment landscape. As a result, many fear that technology is creating job-stealing robots.

On that score, there are many lessons to be learned from our past.

For example, the industrial revolution taught us that as traditional jobs disappear, we need to ensure that people of all ages are sufficiently educated to prepare and take advantage of the new emerging roles in our immediate future.

Burying our heads in the sand and arming our children with skills for roles that will no longer exist is certainly not the answer. Neither is clinging to business models of the past or recreating the good-old days. The times demand new skills, new mindsets, new competencies, and new institutions.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” – Henry Ford

Stuck in the Past

This backward glance is one of the problems that I encountered with President Trump’s campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” This is not a post against our President, I respect him and respect our presidency. This is not about politics. It’s about vision. It is impossible to go back in time or to recreate the past. Building a better and brighter future is the only way forward.

If we compare the jobs of one hundred years ago to the jobs of the present, we would be stunned by the standard of living and the thankless work. Creative directors, content strategists, app developers and social media managers are a product of our times. The mentality of doing what you love is also a product of the epoch.

Indeed, hundreds of traditional roles have disappeared over the years, but they have been replaced with new job titles for our digital age.

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