There is a sense, as we approach what I like to call the Year of Clarity, 2020, that all sectors of our way of life are about to change dramatically. This acceleration has been exponential and it began more than forty years ago. We are about to enter an age which requires that we transform our role as humans on this planet, because everything around us will be doing so as well.
In the mid-eighties, when I graduated from university as a 24 year-old and obtained my first corporate job with a global high-tech company, I already had an extensive resume of temporary jobs (part-time/ summer employment) in the manufacturing sector, service industry and even as a government sub-contractor. What I intuitively sensed then, and later embodied, was the emergence of the independent worker.
I was at the start of the hiring trend that replaced the one company for life employee with the 5 to 7 years, then the 3 to 5 years and now the short term, contractual employee. In the past 30 years, technological innovation has first assisted the worker, then transformed the worker’s daily tasks and is now replacing human labor outright in most sectors of the economy.
Artificial Intelligence, new algorithms and the evolution of robotics are transforming the world that we live in. In 2008, I was doing market research for a company looking to develop new products based on emerging trends. At the time, my recommendation to design complimentary product lines for drone technology was met with the response that “they are literally falling out of the sky and cannot be viewed as a sustainable emerging market”. Today, drones or unmanned aerial vehicles are finding many new commercial applications in a world which is becoming more and more automated.
I would like to point out that we may still be discussing and reviewing these new developments with a human mindset that does not reflect the exponential speed at which these new technologies are emerging. While we plan with and use technology for the very human debate of “if”, “when” and “how” all of this will impact the very fabric of our current modern society, the fractal innovation patterns are not waiting for us.
Ironically, while reality type television shows are parading as “real life”, we are missing the greatest transformation spectacle of all, that of the world in which we live.