Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution
Are you a bright minded inventor with an idea that you think will make our day that little bit easier? Yes? Well, don’t.
It sounds cruel, but unless your invention or idea will have some sort of legacy that can’t be outshone or over shadowed within the next few years then there is really no point in trying. You may as well scrap it and move on to the next one.
The issue isn’t that idea is bad or useless; the issue is that the development of technology is so rapid that even the brightest ideas that at the time seem useful will soon be redundant. As said by Udo Gollub in his report of the Singularity University Summit of 2016; In 1998 Kodak was one of the largest companies in the world, with approximately 170,000 employees and responsible for 85% of the world’s photo paper, but within 3 years it was in the drink. Why? Digital Photography. It was invented in 1975 and all that time it spent in the shadows it was developing and getting better and better and better until one day it was everything that Analog and Polaroid wasn’t. Then, in 2001 Digital was crowned the king of photography and Analog and Polaroid had died (until their hipster rebirth of 2014 of course).
This process is happening with virtually everything. Traditional technologies, ideas and businesses are falling at the wayside of the technological tidal wave. Airbnb is the largest hotel company in the world and own no hotels. Uber is the largest taxi service and own no taxis. Artificial Intelligence is now at the forefront of virtually every technological scientist’s research. Technology will replace most of us, and I’m not being dramatic at all. Self-driving vehicles will replace bus drivers and taxis, computer software can already replace a helpdesk, and even lawyers can be replaced. It’s ridiculously scary that the prediction is that by 2030 computers will be “more intelligent” than humans, that’s going to hurt a few egos (to be honest I know a few people that a chimp could outsmart, so this comment doesn’t seem too farfetched).
This new technology will bring around some fantastic benefits; Better water purification, more efficient agricultural systems, better worldwide education, reusable energy… The list goes on and on, but there is still a very scary monster that lurks behind these great statistics. What happens to us? What happens to all the jobs? With technologies exponential advancement, it is predicted that there will be a 70% loss of jobs in the next 20 years, yes there will be new ones but nowhere near enough in such a short amount of time.
The sad reality of all this new technology is that something is always going to be an old product that is chucked in the bin, and one of those old products is humans. Yes, Humans will at one point be sitting on the heap of out dated products. But it’s not all bad, we’ll have plenty of CDs to listen to, old cars to drive, and we’ll even get our hands on some cash because of course BitCoin is going to replace that too.
Chin up, chaps, you won’t have to endure that job you hate for much longer, soon a computer will be doing it.