Technology continues to evolve at an exponential, ever increasing rate.
For many of us, technology is a good thing that has brought great gadgets into our everyday life: the Internet, MP3 players, eBook readers, tablets, and the ubiquitous smart phones. Things that once were luxuries for the few now are regarded as necessities for the many.
In 1985 the Internet, or the World Wide Web as we know it today, did not exist; in 1995 millions were using the Internet and the dot-com revolution had begun. Shortly after 2005 (in 2007 actually) the first iPhone ushered in the age of smart phones; now virtually everyone has a smart phone. Who knows what new technology revolution will begin in 2015?
Some of us, however do not see the technology whirlwind as a good thing. Many factory workers, particularly in auto manufacturing have seen their jobs displaced with advanced robotics. A robotic production line requires much fewer workers to build cars and many articles discuss whether or not this creates or destroys more jobs, including this article.
Technology is a Career Blender
Blenders create amazing concoctions from a combination of disparate items. Put in some carrots, a bit of orange juice, maybe some apple slices. Blend it up and a unique smoothie drink emerges.
Technology is having much the same effect on many careers. Take an accountant, mix in data for US tax tables, current tax laws, a bit of software and algorithms and voila! the technology blender produces a software for your laptop that computes your taxes. This may not be so great for the accountant, however.
The Future is not Predictable
When it comes to technology, the future is not predictable; though the turmoil of creative destruction is guaranteed to continue and, in fact accelerate.
Today's technology blender works with many different ingredients, including:
- 3D Printing – Additive Manufacturing
- Wireless Technology
- The Internet of Things
- Microchip Advances
Mix all of these ingredients and the doctor of 2025 may be a robot who can in minutes test skin temperature and density, analyze blood and urine samples, sift through terabytes of medical data and test results; and then diagnosis the patient's disease and prescribe the best course of treatments. Maybe human doctors are hardly needed.
What to Do? Become a Knowledge Worker
I'm not a doctor, but here is my prescription: become a knowledge worker.
In the past we have described knowledge workers rather narrowly to include software developers, engineers, doctors and scientists. Today, even auto mechanics must now know and understand technology as autos are comprised of hundreds of computers and electronic modules.
The best pay and career advancement is accorded to knowledge workers; a trend that will continue to grow. Very soon there will be two types of workers: knowledge workers; and the unemployed.