I’ve been in transit for the last 30 hours. I’ve trekked all the way back to Australia from the UK. Sadly it’s for a death in the family. But when it’s necessary to come back, after all it’s really not that hard a trip to make.
In my transit back that means a few cab rides. A couple of train rides. And of course about a day on a plane.
It also means people-watching. Observing, and occasionally eavesdropping in on conversations.
I also get to chat to all different kinds of people while in transit. Take for instance my taxi ride to the train station. My cabbie was explaining how he wants to buy a house in the UK.
‘I want to buy a house. But it’s too expensive.’ Those were his exact words. He went on to tell me the three bedroom properties he was looking at were around £150,000–170,000. However he had a little bit of hope.
He had decided to take no further action on his house buying adventure. Why? Brexit. He had hopes that if the UK leaves the EU in six days’ time, property prices might take a hit. He was actually hoping for tougher economic times, so that he could buy a house at an affordable price.
But I couldn’t help wonder if he would even have a job in the next couple of years. Try buying a house when you haven’t got an income. More on that in a second…
The ease of transit thanks to automation
Then there was the airport shuttle from the train station to the airport terminal. Human driver? Nope. Just one automated shuttle car. I overheard an older couple (who clearly don’t travel a lot) marvel about the fact there was no driver.
In Dubai’s airport it’s the same thing. The terminal shuttle is driverless too. But in Dubai no one blinks an eye at it. In Dubai no one really blinks an eye at anything — this is certainly a place of excess. I mean, who’s really going to buy an Aston Martin in an airport terminal?
Boarding the plane, I noticed the check in staff let the automated system direct passengers to board by section. Not a human voice to be heard anywhere.
Then of course on the plane. We all know there are pilots up in the cockpit. And I’ve always been in awe of pilots and the skills they acquire. But let’s not forget, the bulk of flying is autopilot. In fact most modern planes could land themselves.
That would almost technically make the Airbus A380 a ‘drone’. Or if you took the pilots out of the cockpit, would they become unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)?
How would you feel being taken halfway around the world by drone?
And then there was the ease of transition into Australia. I love smartgates at the airport. I’ve written about them before. Yet every time I use them they make me happy. Scan the passport. Print off the ticket. Look at the camera. Welcome to Australia.
Easy. What’s a bit of facial recognition technology these days to help clear border control that little bit faster?
So back to my humble cab driver. In fact not just the cabbie, but the airport security staff, pilots, train drivers and border control people as well. All of these people are at risk of being unemployed in the next few years.
If the cabbie thought buying a house now was hard, try it without a job. Self-driving cabs aren’t a fantasy anymore. They’re coming and they’ll be here before you know it.
Pilotless planes? Yeah right. Well, considering trials of completely pilotless cargo planes are already in the works, it’s not that much of a stretch really. And heck, drones and UAVs have been around for decades.
The point here is that in everyday life the world is increasingly automated. Automation and robotic systems are the norm. Well maybe not completely ‘the norm’ just yet, but they will be soon.
Lawyers are in the firing line. An article in the Australian Financial Review yesterday highlighted how automated systems are already in use for document discovery and due diligence. How long before IBM’s Watson is arguing a murder case?
So glad modern kids keep us employed
Let me put it simply. Robotics and automation are entering the world of white collar jobs. That means your job could be seriously under threat.
Think about it. Could a robot do your job cheaper, faster and with less fuss? If the answer is yes or ‘I’m not sure’, then you’re in trouble. You might not have a job at all in three years’ time. If it’s a resounding ‘no’ then you might be OK — at least until robotics become more advanced.
This impending threat of robotics and automation will mean a lot of jobs will cease to exist. However let’s not forget there will be jobs created that, right now, you’ve never heard of.
For example, on Facebook this week I saw the following post from a social media company.
Click to enlarge
Most people condescendingly proclaimed how kids these days are so different. But perhaps we’re forgetting that there wouldn’t be such a thing as a ‘social media company’ if it wasn’t for technology.
That smartphone generation is the only reason a post like that above exists. So perhaps the post (and poster) should consider, ‘So glad I grew up the way I did. And also glad modern kids are connected and keeping me in a job.’
Consider some of the jobs that only exist thanks to things like Facebook, Google and smartphones. Do you know someone in digital marketing? Perhaps a social media executive? Heck you might even know someone that’s a deep learning engineer. With technological change comes new jobs, new opportunities, and new industry.
The same thing is going to happen with an increasingly automated world. Here’s the catch though. You’ve got to be prepared and ready to embrace the change. Don’t just think in 10 years’ time everything will be the same.
You might not have the job you have now. It might not exist. But you might be working as a Robotic-Client Liaison Manager or a Deep Learning Quality Control Assessor. Who knows?
What you need to know is that change is coming. It’s impacting everything from how we work and where we work to how we make and spend our money.
I guess you can take this as a bit of a warning. Soon you might no longer have a job, thanks to robotics and automation. What can you do about it? Well there are a few things you can do. There are a few ways you can change behaviours now, from work to investment, that can set you up for this coming future.
If you’re prepared and ready for what’s coming, you will put yourself in a position to benefit, profit and stay relevant in the years to come.
I’ll explain more in the coming weeks about ways to protect, prepare and set yourself up for our robotic and automated future. So make sure you keep an eye on your inbox to find out more.