It’s a common notion people have that the advancement of technology spurs unemployment. But this hypothesis is unproven. What can be said, however, is that technology is changing the types of jobs that are available.
David Autor, an economist at MIT has this to say about the effect of technology on jobs:
“At least since the 1980s computers have increasingly taken over such tasks as bookkeeping, clerical work, and repetitive production jobs in manufacturing—all of which typically provided middle-class pay. At the same time, higher-paying jobs requiring creativity and problem-solving skills, often aided by computers, have proliferated. So have low-skill jobs: demand has increased for restaurant workers, janitors, home health aides, and others doing service work that is nearly impossible to automate.”
What technology has done is to create a polarization in the workforce, as you can see from the examples. Just as the Industrial Revolution marked a sharp drop in the percentage of workers in agriculture, and an increased proportion of industrial labour, the Information age is following a similar trend. Some jobs are gradually phasing out, to be replaced by new ones.
This simply means people have to embrace this change and adapt to it, instead of complaining. To embrace this change requires you to either survive, or thrive. If you are willing to thrive, then you must strive to remain relevant. And how do you do that?
Consider the future of your career
If you are already treading a career path, then you need to know what the future of that career hold for you. Machines are learning how to become like humans, and robots are taking over several jobs. Someone also has to feed data into those robots and manage them.
You can find out what the chances are that your job will be done by a machine in a few years. Decide what to do with this information. Do you want to sit still, or do you want to be at the front of the developments?
Sharpen your tech appreciation
There’s computer appreciation and there’s tech appreciation. While computer appreciation was that thing we did in primary and junior secondary school, tech appreciation is more than that. I have met some people who seem to be resistant to what seems inevitable. The internet and computers are a vital part of our living, eating and breathing. Deal with it.
It’s no longer enough to know how to use tech appliances and software, understanding their long term impact on the way we do things will help you a great deal. Be ready to learn things that seem contrary to status quo. It’s really the only way to be outstanding, no?
Embrace curiosity and update yourself
I’m sure you have heard this several times: “Your certificate is not enough.” And I’m sure you understand how true that is. To thrive in this fast-paced age of technology, you need to embrace critical thinking even more. You have to learn how to explore ideas beyond what you are used to. It’s why a graduate of Law and a medical doctor can successfully create one of Africa’s biggest tech blogs. Thriving will require you to go places you haven’t gone before. What we once knew as ‘smart’ has been redefined.