For the past few years, I have been studying the effect of technologies on the future of work. Throughout the process of learning of this unfolding dilemma, I have read different reports with conflicting results. Some say that robots and artificial intelligence (AI) will replace many jobs soon. While others reported that there will always be jobs, it is just they are different kinds of jobs.
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Then came the corona virus, smashing the job market and laying off millions around the world, leaving skeptics of technology effect on the job market with more to worry about.
The technology threat
For many, technologies were and is still is a threat, but the truth is, it was a savior for many who kept doing their jobs while working from home. Imagine the post corona world with the internet, on-demand services, video conferencing, cloud services, video streaming, social networks, and simply online chatting, and the list goes on.
One big idea is behind that so many people are losing their jobs, it is simply, protecting humans from infecting each other. Social distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands.
New health measures
Any human activity which requires close contact with other humans and is not essential was affected. And because humans are innately social and move, live, and work together, many industries were struck, very hard. Entertainment, sports, air travel, and tourism, just to name a few.
You may wash your hands and wear a mask and still attend a medical conference. But still, strict social distancing is the main reason for the closure of restaurants, cinemas, and shopping malls.
Today, many countries have already started the process of going back to the pre corona era. But the three effective protective measures are here to stay with varying degrees of applications.
The number one procedure in every home and company right now is how to implement the new protective health measures. Then comes the other question, how to do what we used to do before the corona virus.
If we start from our previous standing point, we will come up with limited solutions, usually compromised towards health measures.
The technology paradigm
The only way to overcome such a crisis is a paradigm shift attitude towards new technologies. We need to embrace them instead of being skeptical and acting like they are a threat. They are a threat to people who don’t act now.
The future of work relies on 5G, the internet of things, big data, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and robots. They are our saviors. With their threat comes the solution.
We will lose jobs, but they will create industries that will create millions of new job opportunities. To manage such a crisis, we need to measure, plan, and execute.
On the national level, there a number of indices that measure the readiness and competitiveness of countries on several technology domains. A similar index lacks for individuals and organizations.
We need to act immediately and create an index, or at least a list, to measure technology readiness to understand where we stand and what we want to achieve.
To be continued.
Tell me how your work got affected and share with me how are you coping with the new rules. Waiting for your feedback. Reply to me, I am happy to respond. :)
A. I. Shoukry | 5 Sheriff Pasha Street, Cairo