Preparing for the Future
Technology is changing all our lives and will continue to do so. Anticipating what might be to come could be the difference between thriving or merely surviving in the years ahead.
I seem to think a lot about the future.
When I was a child it was called daydreaming of possibilities. As an adult I have come to see it as a way of anticipating possible scenarios and preparing for them.
Mental preparation was particularly valuable in my political life. Contemplating my own (and others) possible actions and responses to a range of events was part of being prepared.
It was the same with media engagements. If you spent time contemplating what you would ask if you were a journalist, and getting some trusted people to do the same, you could virtually predict almost every question.
Now I don’t have to do either of those things so I spend my mental energy thinking about the future of business, our society and what it means for the next generation.
I have no doubt that many of the changes to come will be dealt with adroitly by the young ones. What is strange to the rest of us is second nature to them. However, I do see some major impacts coming their way which they need to be prepared for.
Some of those changes are economic. Our debts are huge and many businesses are finding it hard to stay afloat. Socially, society is fractured and seems very close to being broken. From a career perspective, I suspect many of the jobs our generation may have sought will simply not exist.
The rate of change in recent years, due to technology, has been extraordinary. Of course that has delivered new platforms and services but it has also structurally changed how we go about things.
More people than ever are shopping online. This has huge implications for landlords and bricks and mortar retailers. It provides massive opportunity too.
Think too of the media. The previous giants are presiding over diminishing audiences as more people get their news from the tech titans. Social media is now simply the media of choice and why wouldn’t it be. We can curate our own content (with the help of their censors) and get an endorphin fix through the use of their addictive features.
But the biggest change I expect to see involves jobs. Put simply, many of the human tasks that exist today will be performed by technology in the future.
The basic professional services like accounting, legal, HR and marketing are already feeling the impact. Delivery drivers, clerks and process workers will be automated into obselencence. It will be the same with corporate fundraising, financial trading and even writing. All are in the process of having technology do a better job than the previous human superstars.
In fact, any repetitive task is likely to be replaced by a coded algorithm that will likely change all our lives.
To my mind, nothing short of a return to the dark ages will stop the march of technology so it’s wise not to bet against it; either professionally or financially.
Of course I could be wrong but that’s the advice I give to my two sons just starting to make their way in adult life.
For the rest of us, just being aware of the potential opportunities brought about by such change will help us prepare our own futures too.