Friday, June 3, 2016

Happy Friday: The Technology Surplus

All too often we can find ourselves swept out to sea by fear-mongerers and people threatened by change. To date, I think we are yet to see anything truly awful come of social disruptors like Uber - even though taxi companies and crusty old politicians would have us believe we'll all be out of pocket from our health insurers as we carve up the hospitals with our whiplash, or that we'll end up dead in the back of an Uber-driver's Prius. I don't think so.

I really love the sentiment outlined by Seth Godin in one of his precious thought bubbles this week:

When someone handed you a calculator for the first time, it meant that long division was never going to be required of you ever again. A huge savings in time, a decrease in the cognitive load of decision making.
Now what?
You can use that surplus to play video games and hang out.
Or you can use that surplus to go learn how to do something that can't be done by someone merely because she has a calculator.
Either way, your career as a long-divisionator was over.
Entire professions and industries are disrupted by the free work and shortcuts that are produced by the connection economy, by access to information, by robots. Significant parts of your job are almost certainly among them.
Now that we can get what you used to do really quickly and cheaply from someone else, you can either insist that you still get to do that for us at the same fee you used to charge, or you can move up the ladder and do something we can't do without you.
Imagine our world today if we'd never embraced fire... Without wood-fired pizza for a start!
Disruptors and advances in technology stretch us as a species to continue to develop and, hopefully, thrive. While all great change should be at a relatively measured pace (i.e. test that robot's ability to do the dishes without exploding before you put it in your kitchen full time), change should not be stifled due to fear of the redundancy of the human species or a demotion in our talents. We should see it for what it is: a challenge to rise to, a challenge that was, after all, set for us by a fellow human who saw fit to create, innovate and disrupt.

Go forth and be masterful!

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