Should we be worried about technology taking over our jobs? Should we be worried about technology taking over our jobs?
Instead of us worrying about Digital Transformation, let us rather embrace it, says TOD's Xhanti Nomqolo. Should we be worried about technology taking over our jobs?

In the age of Digital Transformation, should we be worried about technology taking over our jobs?

Before we attempt to answer this question, let us embark on a brief history lesson. Between the 18th and the 19th century the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory systems gave way to a transition that included going from hand-produced goods to machine-produced goods that we now refer to as The Industrial Revolution.

Jobs jobs jobs

Prior to this most people resided in small, rural communities depending on subsistence farming and handmade crafts for their livelihood. Incomes were insufficient, healthcare was poor, and malnourishment a daily struggle. Enter the age of the Industrial Revolution which saw the rise in migration of people from rural areas to cities in order to get jobs in various industries.  

Raising Standards

The widespread adoption of machinery and new technologies resulted in improved delivery of everyday necessities such as transportation, communication and banking processes. Ultimately, the Industrial Revolution significantly raised the standards of living for most people and not just the upper classes.

With the above in mind, it’s easy to see that the Digital Transformation is actually a modern-day Industrial Revolution. Or, as it’s more commonly referred to in 2018, the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’.

What, then, should be our response?

We must adapt

We, like most industries back in the original industrial revolution, have to adapt. Take for example the textile industry; adaptation from manually weaving to machinery adoption was a disruption to their known world, but the cost of not adapting and adopting new technologies included losing out on faster production times, and therefore losing the opportunity to profit, as well.

We, too, have no option but to adapt and adopt lest we see our own profits drop.

The trick is to think about this “Fourth Industrial Revolution” as a positive contributor to our lives.

ATMS =/= No Tellers

Take a moment to think about the following: the introduction of ATMs did not entirely replace tellers, they provided people with an alternative. Vending machines did not keep people out of their jobs, they made it quicker for people to get light snacks by avoiding unnecessary queues. The changes there were all good.

Embrace the change

So, instead of us worrying about Digital Transformation, let us rather embrace it and ask ourselves, how can we (help our organisations) to provide more value to our customers and meet their ever-changing and rising expectations both today and tomorrow?

The reality is that in order to remain competitive and drive revenue growth, companies need to look at technology as a transformative tool that allows business to achieve operational excellence and efficiency. 

And while doing that is certainly a challenge, the rewards far outweigh the risks of not doing so. Ultimately, technology is a job-maker, not a job-taker.

Xhanti Nomqolo is a Market Development Consultant at Tarsus On Demand.

  • Andile

    April 19, 2018 #1 Author

    But rember South Africa and Africa in general has a High rate of Unemployment we can’t have a radical introduction of Technology as there will be a lot more people out of jobs, and the continent will have to bring in I.T expects from abroad from countries like China etc, at the present moment we cant afford to due to the current situation in our economy, I agree Technology does make life easy but we have to take those factors into consideration.

    Andile Sigonyela

    Reply

    • Xhanti

      April 25, 2018 #2 Author

      You are correct that radical introduction to technology would be disruptive, however that is not what I meant.
      What I am referring to in this article, is a phased approach in the introduction of technology because doing nothing would be detrimental if we are to compete on a global scale.

      We would not have to get people from abroad if we developed and enabled our own people. (My next article will touch more on this). We are not far off because there already talented people that have made strides in the technology sector, locally, who can pass on their skills to others.

      Both the above need a decisive road map in order to be achieved but we cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the world will wait for us. We need to start this journey with small milestones that will enable us to achieve the bigger picture.

      That is why the notion of adopting and adapting is so important.

      Reply

  • Kgomotso Motsoane

    April 22, 2018 #3 Author

    The best way to counter this challenge is skills development. Thousands on you who have completed internships at multi national organizations can be train to fill this gap. Thos is of course a gradual process. We have to adapt ot we will be left behind. The disruption is real. BIG up X Nomqolo for this piece

    Reply

    • Xhanti

      April 25, 2018 #4 Author

      Spot on, Thank you..

      Reply

  • Kgomotso Motsoane

    April 22, 2018 #5 Author

    Meant to say thousands of young people

    Reply

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