The role of any technology whether it’s software or electronics should be to free us up to build higher order value. Much of the ecconomic predicament we find ourselves in today is a result of not rising up to create that higher value that automation and technology free us to do. Instead, many are clinging to the institutions and processes of the past in hopes this wave of technology revolution passes, leaving them unaffected. Unfortunately, it won’t. As Seth Godin put it in his fantastic post titled The Forever Recession:
“Protectionism isn’t going to fix this problem. Neither is stimulus of old factories or yelling in frustration and anger. No, the only useful response is to view this as an opportunity. To poorly paraphrase Clay Shirky, every revolution destroys the last thing before it turns a profit on a new thing. The networked revolution is creating huge profits, significant opportunities and a lot of change. What it’s not doing is providing millions of brain-dead, corner office, follow-the-manual middle class jobs. And it’s not going to.”
So, here’s a rule for anyone looking to build a business or career in the 21st century- any task that can be automated will. Plan, train and build accordingly. There is so much higher order value yet to be created. And the rate innovation is only going to continue to accelerate.
The robots are coming. Whether we thrive or struggle to survive in this new reality is entirely within our control. The family member I mentioned above is thriving and I think there’s a lesson in his experience we can all learn from.
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