Is your job threatened by technology?

“As human beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache.” – Terry Gou, Chairman of Foxconn.

(To start with, a disclaimer: we do not endorse the view of Terry Gou) 

Controversial statement isn’t it? But it does invoke some thinking. What if the company you’re working for is consistently on the look out to acquire technology that will render you redundant. Efficiency, effectiveness and speed created by technology displaces the need for real workers every single day – this is called Creative Destruction.

Have a read at this article about how robots are taking over jobs all over the world.

It’s not just manufacturing plants and heavy industries that face this problem. In your very office, think about how much more labor was needed in the past without technologies such as email, digital photos, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc.

I remember going to a bank in Sri Lanka two years ago. The number of staff needed to carry out it’s operations was staggering. They had probably three times the number of clerks, receptionists, telephone, admin, security staff etc as compared to even the busiest bank in Shenton Way. In fact, with the proliferation of self-service lobbies, you don’t even need a single person to carry out frontline work.

As the world evolves, so does technology. The need for large numbers of people to do work decreases. I’m curious about a few things:

a.) How is Singapore addressing the problem of creative destruction?

b.) Does the man in the street know that the skills he/she acquired has a limited shelf life?

c.) Are people aware that the industries profitable today could possibly disappear tomorrow?

d.) Do people know the consequence of creative destruction and it’s effect on their own careers and future?

About the author

Benjamin Chiang

Benjamin Chiang is an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labour issues and chocolate. He writes also at www.rangosteen.com and occasionally on Yahoo!

The views expressed are his own.

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