Last week we saw a tipping point occur in the automation of global labor markets:

  • Foxconn, the firm that produces iPhones and other electronics, has cut 60,000 jobs from its workforce of 110,000 — replacing them with robots.
  • Adidas announced that it was building its first factory in Europe in 20 years — mostly powered by robotic automation.
  • Wendy’s announced that it was going to begin piloting self order kiosks to reduce staffing needed.

The trend of automation in our labor markets is increasing, quickly. Entire professions are being completely disrupted by technology (for example, truck drivers will be a thing of the past in the next decade or two). Significant parts of most jobs are at risk of being systematized. Now that your job can be done quickly and cheaply with smart software you can either move up the value chain and do work that is more daring and complex.

While some sectors of the economy are quickly contracting there are many areas that can’t hire employees quickly enough. The tech sector has a chronic shortage of workers, and it is a employees market in Silicon Valley (and Alley). As software continues to eat the world it is important to stay relevant through learning new skills. The CEO of AT&T recently said that those who aren’t learning at least 10 hours a week “obsolete themselves with the technology.” There is a huge need to retool our workforce and empower them to take hold of their own learning. One thing is certain – our economy will only continue to evolved and change as time moves on.

You can either drive your own learning or you can bank on guaranteed minimum income taking hold…

Sean

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