I’ve been doing a lot of reading about rural and blue collar voters within the past week. Specifically, how Trump’s campaign honed in on this data insight almost immediately and how Hillary’s didn’t despite this strategy working in her Senate campaign. I’ve read tons of articles that shared themes of feeling ignored and disenfranchised as technology assumes an astounding role in our lives. I’m very much struggling with my bias towards this inaction to prepare for this technology invasion, but I also empathize with the high cost of this disruption to lives built on a different business model.
I spend a lot of time researching the implications to our society and work models brought about by the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and all those sexy tech topics. I wanted to share some hard truths we all need to face no matter how we classify ourselves:
1: Neither candidate presented a cohesive strategy, or even a basic roadmap, for how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing our lives, and how drastically different it will be within 10-20 years. There was very little attention paid to sharing a plan for our nations technology infrastructure and cybersecurity preparedness. The Internet of Things will unleash cyber attacks that will cripple our nation starting with disrupting health and financial services. The White House/DOT rolled out proactive federal guidelines for self-driving cars in September and neither candidate addressed how this will impact our infrastructure.
2: There is a coming displacement of the value of the blue collar worker by robots and automation. It is a great disservice to not prepare them for this shift by re-training them to think in new ways for new jobs. A BCG report on robotics said that industries generally ramp up automation when using robots become 15% cheaper per hour than employing humans (p.18)! FIFTEEN PERCENT. Why would a manufacturer pay a human welder $25/hr when they could pay a robot $2/hr? Self-driving freight trucks are being tested right now in CA, this could put 1.7 million truckers out of work within the next 10 years.
3: There is a coming displacement of the value of the white collar worker via artificial intelligence and automation. There is already disruption to the medical, legal and journalism fields. Although halted, Johnson and Johnson developed an automated way to deliver anesthesia, IBMs Watson can diagnose lung cancer faster than a doctor can and with higher accuracy, software solutions can scan millions of data points within minutes and create actionable reports, etc. We too need to re-train our brains to think in new ways for new jobs.
4: For-profit companies will choose automated business models over human ones because the economics will be favorable to their bottom line.
5: It is estimated that 65% of children in primary school will ultimately end up working in new jobs that don’t exist yet. How are we preparing for that?
I don’t know what the answer is, but the adoption rates for newer technologies has exceedingly outpaced previous innovations in many sectors and will disrupt our lives in beneficial *and* undesirable ways.
I want a POTUS that gets that.