This column is by Leading Business and Data Expert, Bernard Marr
New technologies aren’t just the latest gadgets for the tech geeks to drool over; these new technologies are transforming our economy. In fact, some people believe that the technologies with transform our world and trigger a 4th industrial revolution because estimates suggest we may lose as many as 7 million traditional jobs worldwide by 2025.
The good news is that many of these jobs won’t just be usurped by technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence — the new technologies will also create new jobs and entire new job categories.
In other words: no one is immune from these technological developments, including you! The smart ones among us will develop their careers to succeed in this new world. Some of the technologies that I would watch are:
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Cognitive computing
One of the benefits of AI will be smarter messaging apps — which could impact many jobs. For example, frontline customer service reps could be outsourced to smart “bots” who can respond just as well as any human. Voice-activated technology will also make huge leaps forward, which could change the way you interact with your computer and devices at work.
There are many headlines touting the idea that robots will be taking all our jobs, and it’s not all hype. By one estimate, as many as 42% of U.S. jobs will be able to be automated in the near future. For employees, that means improving your education or experience and moving into a field that requires creative or analytical thinking will be a smart move if you don’t want the T1000 to take your job.
Big Data and analytics
Every business in every field will soon be using data and analytics — if they’re smart. This means that employees in nearly every discipline, from sales to HR, will need to understand the basics of big data. In addition, analytics will become more and more user-friendly and built in to data systems, so that anyone can query the data and visualize the results, meaning that every company can access their data — whether they employ a full-time analyst or not — and employees who understand the concepts of big data will have a distinct advantage.
Internet of Things
The prevalence of sensors that can be attached to just about anything means that practically anything can become an internet-connected object, from pallets of yoghurt containers to your employee ID. This will simplify things like supply chain management and could add an additional level of surveillance to your job. For some jobs, this will be a huge benefit — so long as the bosses don’t take undue advantage.
As 3D printing technology improves and new materials are created to be used in the printing process, it could conceivably disrupt manufacturing in many ways. Even if the assembly line isn’t totally replaced, a broken part for the line itself could be quickly printed and replaced, improving productivity. Inventors will be able to create models and mockups quickly and easily. Designers will be able to sell specs for objects that consumers can print at home, cutting out the middle man. Of course, people thought that print-on-demand would put bookshops out of business, and we haven’t seen that come to pass, so it could be that 3D printing will remain a specialty process.
Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality
With the 2016 arrival of the long-anticipated Oculus Rift headset, followed by HTC’s Vive and Sony’s PlayStation VR, virtual reality is finally becoming… a reality. And sure, you’ll be able to watch movies, play video games, and experience that sold-out concert as though you’re in the front row. But you’ll also be able to attend that meeting on the other side of the world without jet lag.
So what’s a savvy employee to do? Stay abreast of new technologies. Be the person on your team who is always willing to do the research, go the extra mile, or get the training on something new. Expand your horizons.
Then, even if new technologies do affect your job in the coming years, you will be well situated to roll with the changes and be an asset to your company and your own career.