Three sentences provoked my ire this morning, these were to be found in an article from a source that claims to be an “independent news” channel on the internet.
At the NTUC’s May Day rally yesterday, it was said that job losses inch up partly because of disruptive technologies. It was not an excuse, neither was it a reason for the job losses. It was merely a description of the market as it was.
Then the great brains behind this “independent news” site says things like:
“Government blames disruptive technologies where there is none”
“The only disruptive technology in Singapore is Uber and Grab”
“Disruptive technologies is, in essence, fake news propagated by the Singapore Government”.
Really?! Are these chaps so dumb as to think that the only technological threat that this country faces is Uber?!
Let’s look at some of the recent inventions and the industries they’ve displaced so that our friends may have an idea of the scale of job losses.
Digital cameras: film companies shut down, never to be seen again. Anyone that used to take pictures for a living, will now have to struggle and compete – such as wedding photographers whom used to charge a bomb.
Amazon Kindle, eBooks, eMagazines: Major bookstores have shutdown. Printers have scaled down operations.
Air BnB: Hotels, hostels, boutique hotels and backpackers now have to compete with home owners.
Facebook: Newspapers are threatened with extinction. Even SPH reports declining readership and is busy seeking new industries to expand into.
Car/Property/Travel sites: No need for agents, small shops have been eradicated.
Robotics: Manpower pools have shrunk in companies all over Singapore, there is no longer need for manpower to do simple tasks that machines can do.
Check out this article about how Sheraton Hotels reduced the need for excess manpower through robotics.
This is how NEA cuts grass – no need for a platoon of grass cutters, one man with a remote control can plough this machine through all terrain and even small bushes. One day, these machines can be autonomous and even the fella operating the remote control will be out of a job.
NetFlix/YouTube: No more need of aggregators such as StarHubTV. Even movie pirates have found themselves out of business, given such content is free or very cheap.
Spotify/Apple Music: Same bad news for pirates. Equally bad news for shops that used to sell music, such as HMV, Tower Records (do we even remember them?) and Virgin Music.
Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop etc: Easy access to these softwares have made it so easy for people to design their own material. What was once exclusively the domain of artists and designers, today ordinary marketing people can make pretty acceptable stuff too.
(I’d rather watch this than Tanglin on Channel 5)
I will have to stop here because this list in inexhaustible. Every single day, there are innovative people that are creating technologies for the sole purpose of disrupting industries. Disruption is not a vulgar word either, in so doing work becomes easier, safer and even smarter. Manpower is freed up to do other things. Lives are made better and because of technology, there is greater possibilities for more.
The people that have to worry, are those whose jobs are displaced. But if you’re hungry, if you’re skilled and if you’ve got the drive, you won’t have to be afraid of job losses because opportunities are everywhere.