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.
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.