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Monday, 19 June 2017

The Corporate Mom- Artificial Intelligence, Automation and our lives. Technology Revolution is an opportunity, only if you see it that way.



And how are we moms going to deal with it? It brings a whole new wave of challenges for us, for our family and our life.

That is America and this is India and the problems exist for both. In India, with a population of 1,341,907,161 (as of Monday, June 19, 2017) can automation be a blessing? And what about India? Can India do without Automation? Should India do without Automation and still leverage on the old model of labor intensive economy? We have moved ahead of the bullock-cart era...but will the new destination serve the interest of our country and it's people? You must be laughing at my wisdom and I am laughing at it too.The question is too simplistic and the answer over complicated.
 
For Indians living in America, the challenge is looming right now and will keep increasing as BCG)Boston Consulting Group) predicts half of all jobs in the US to be automated by 2050.  

For the uninitiated let's understand what is AI(Artificial Intelligence) and Automation? The dictionary defines AI as "the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages."

Automation is defined as "the use of largely automatic equipment in a system of manufacturing or another production process." To a layman, it simply means that the work which uses to be done by human workers will now be done by machines. From driverless cars to a drone delivering your Amazon packet, technology, automation, and AI are waves sweeping over developed economies and looming over the developing nations as they scramble to keep pace with changing times and have sustainable growth. India is not going to be far behind because India doesn't operate in isolation. No country does.

Post-American elections 2016, the changes witnessed on Indian soil ( especially the IT sector) have given enough proof of how a country and its economy is intricately interlinked, dependent on another country's dynamics. This was about H1-B visas but what about job losses that will affect the market due to rapid roboticization? AI and Automation are going to affect India too in the long run. Rapid urbanization and industrialization have already created enough havoc to the environmental, political and social landscape of our country.

A historian Henry Ford used the power generated from coal as a measure of technological progress. By his calculation every 10 years (between 1840-1900) the power output doubled and he estimated a compounded rate of progress to be 7%. Things are different now. It's the speed that is the commanding position today. The intelligent machines- robots to automobiles to drones are going to deliver faster and better...effective and efficient both. And then we will have lots of people around with zero economic value.

I read in one of the business magazines that there is a company called Foxconn which installed 10,000 robots in China in 2011 and aims at installing them at a rate of 30,000/year. These robots do routine jobs and that means no hiring of routine jobs workers. This is just one example. Most of the routine, mechanical jobs will slowly be replaced by these robots who will also come cheap and it would be practically impossible for workers to compete with them. This is just a trailer of the entire movie that is emerging.


Artificial Intelligence and automation worldwide are creating economic anxiety and job crisis. The biggest of the challenge is no brainer- Where do people go? A country sharply divided by glaring income inequalities, the old adage haves and have nots, India has much to think and ponder over.  We and the rest of the countries of the world can truly enjoy the sweet fruits of AI only when the sweat of its citizens are rewarded too. Having a massive unemployed workforce is too much of a sacrifice to have an automated economy and an improved everyday life. But can you shut your doors to technology then? NO. Technology helps a company maintain its competitive advantage and not having it will also lead to job loss. Of course, the changing economy will create new jobs but is the workforce armored well with knowledge, skills, and abilities for the relentless changes automation is bringing?


So what is in there for us? To us, it is about having work and providing for the family. Are you aware? Are you prepared? Do you think along these lines? It could be you or your spouse?

New skills need to be learned, workers need to be retrained, the country needs to provide financial protection for those seeking new careers, there is a lot that can work and not work for us. Examine the way in the last 10 years, the advent of a simple device brought monstrous changes in which you live.

  • What is the first thing you see/do after you wake up in the morning?
  • What is the last thing you see/do before going to bed at night?

We know the answer far too well.

We connect to our relationships differently now. We buy and sell things online and at an 'instant' speed. Our financial transactions are completely online barring a few trip to the ATM stall.
We greet, gift, apply, register, buy, sell, read, sing, hear, cry, vent out, hurt, get hurt, laugh and play all on the device. A small machine has revolutionalised our life.
We engage, teach and educate our children through these various machines and apps. Technology is raising our kids differently from how we were raised. It's beyond debate that digitalization of life has caused a reduction in the human interface...the human touch and we are all guilt ridden in coexisting in such confusion.
Imagine the extent of impact when technology sweeps over from just every aspect including YOUR JOB.

Be aware- You either upscale to the requirements of the changing times or you become redundant. Being aware of what is in and what will soon be out is one way you can manage your career in the changing times. Read what's happening in your domain, discuss in the professional network and be at the top of your game.

Being aware is not enough- Given a chance, grab to opportunities where you can learn a new skill, enhance your knowledge base and develop yourself. Don't give training and development a boring look.There are millions waiting to encash on every bit of opportunity that comes their way.We need to see the technology revolution as an ‘opportunity’ to do better or different work rather than fear it and choose not to see it thinking 'it shall not touch me.'

An alternate career-  I do not say that both partners need to work. But the partner who is at home can engage in a variety of flextime, online, work from home jobs which will keep him or her marketable and provide an alternative career to bank on in times of need.

Save- I come from a family of savers and I am proud of it. That's pretty much because my father was laid off when I was 16 and we sailed through. Kudos- Dad, and Mom for being cautious about their spending. Differentiate between needs, wants and desires. While A "one size fits all" approach,  is often not helpful, experts are of the opinion that 20% of the salary should go into savings. Diversify your savings and do not keep all eggs in one basket.

There is light at the end of the tunnel- Unfortunately if one lands up in the dark tunnel, remember, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It might test your patience and determination. I never forgot that the fruits of adversity are truly sweet. The show goes on...


Concluding thoughts-
Politicians, economist, and scientist are engulfed in a raging debate over this approach-approach conflict. This is a conflict between two desired gratifications. We want technological advances, a better way of life and we also want people to be employed productively. But technological forces by nature oppose human factor. That is what we are observing.

Experts, researchers are of the opinion that in order to move forward, technology cannot oppose the human force. It could be better off in being a mean of production and a method of producing new job roles.

Now to pull off such a magnetic combination require some massive investments in education, both on the part of the corporations looking to move valued employees into new roles. That means massive skill development has to be initiated and workers have to engage in getting out of their comfort zones and getting trained at a rapid pace.  Executives have to unlearn the old ways and shift towards leading a digital workplace. Every aspect of the organization in the coming days will use a sophisticated technology.
The education system of the country goes for a revamp as they start preparing workers for the real world. Will it be too little and too late to catch up with the swiftness with which technology is invading?  

Maybe people will find some solution. They always do. And it is they who created technology and not vice versa.


Thank you for dropping by. Do not forget to like on FB and share. Drop in your feedback if any.For more such articles on Meaningful Parenting, Mindful Eating, Well-being and Motivation Cuppa,  please visit Four Clover Life at  http://www.fourcloverlife.com/.  


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