Imagine this: You need to buy groceries at a supermarket every week, and in order to get to the supermarket, you need to take a forty-minute bus ride. Every time you are there, you spend one hour getting all your stuff, thirty minutes to queue up and then, another forty minutes to reach home.
You’re fifty years old, and this puts a serious strain on your back and your health in general. One day, a trusted company (let’s say, Google) created an app for you to do your shopping on your phone. All you need to do is to pick what you want (in fact, there are more choices) and the groceries will be delivered to you within thirty minutes at your doorstep.
The price of everything is 50% less including delivery, and the groceries are even fresher than what you get from the supermarket. You don’t need to pay until the groceries arrive at your door—and everything is fully refundable within three days.
Now, tell me honestly, which would you prefer? It’s definitely the latter option. From your end, you’ve got a bargain. But think about it: when that day comes, a few groups of people in that supermarket are going to lose their jobs: the cashiers, the retail assistants, the logistics staff and eventually, when the supermarket closes down, every single employee there.
In other words, more people are going to lose their job because of your choice. But tell me honestly again: even after knowing all this, would you still want to buy from the supermarket? Well, I won’t. And trust me, you won’t, too. We’re not saints.
In case you think that, that would not happen, let me give you the good and bad news: It is happening. Online groceries shopping has become a reality with Redmart (Singapore) and Amazon (international), and thirty-minute delivery (or even faster) has been shown to be possible with Amazon’s flying drone (say goodbye to traffic jams!).
With less overhead, it is possible to get discounts up to even 80%–the money that is used to fund the payroll of people who will be jobless soon. Now, you might be thinking that you’re not working in a supermarket, so you should be safe, right? Unfortunately, this is merely an example: everywhere you go, it’s happening.
You’re a taxi driver? Google has successfully created driverless cars that have 0% accident rate, and in certain states in the US, it is legal. You’re a regional sales rep? With buyers making better-informed decisions based on statistics generated by computers (that is more effective) instead of relationships, you’ll be a liability soon.
Recently, I read an online thread about a person who said that his mother, a waitress, was retrenched because of technology (you should have seen those iPad ordering system in restaurants before). Surprisingly, people started to blame the restaurant, the Government and everything else.
The truth is, aren’t we contributing to this? And isn’t the solution not to find someone to blame, but to be prepared for this? If they need to blame someone, then it’s society. And in general, society is made up of you and me. The world is changing faster than you can imagine with technology.
You’re an IT support staff in a bank? Well, just when you thought you’re safe, cloud platforms are the next big thing, so there’s no need for servers in the office anymore—and that means you’re no longer required. What is the solution, then? Keep on learning new things and be prepared.
I knew long ago that digital purchases of my books are going to take a bulk of the market share in the bookselling industry, despite the fact that the market share is extremely small in Singapore. Yet, I’ve put in more resources into this, for I know if I don’t prepare for this, I’ll lose my job very soon.
It requires me to learn everything about xhtml—something that I didn’t even know existed two years ago. And every now and then, the ePub version changes and I learn again, and again, and again. Learning is difficult, but unfortunately, unless you intend to be replaced, you need to do it. Have you prepared yourself for the future?
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This article was first published on goodyfeed.com