Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Technological Revolution (1800-2100) – part 2

Recently, a friend and former colleague made a joke about my business background in Automotive and Banking. He asked me to write a blog about that. After some reflection I had to conclude that I have indeed never written about the parallel between both. Nevertheless, I have often talked about this parallel in meetings or phone calls with headhunters/recruiters.

For many years, I have earned a (very) good living in Auditing, Automotive and Banking. Ironically, the industry decline seemed to follow me after each transfer. Today I am faced with a business background in 2 (perhaps even 3) industries which both continue to reorganise to adapt themselves to a world in turmoil. The human impact of these continuing reorganisations is huge.

FT 9 December 2015: “Dutch lender Rabobank is cutting another 9,000 jobs, shrinking its balance sheet by €150bn and refocusing on domestic lending in another bid to silence questions about its viability. The co-operative owned bank, which is the Netherlands’ biggest lender, announced its five-year strategic plan on Wednesday evening. The job cuts amount to almost 20 per cent of the bank’s full-time workforce”.

Today I create something out of nothing. As a Finance guy you never really create anything. Usually you just solve the mess created by others, apart from reporting on it and often in carefully chosen words. Nobody will be able to replace me in my current blogging activities, partly because my writing does not (yet) earn me anything, but mostly as creativity is a unique process. 

Many jobs do not require human creativity. Essentially, these jobs could be automated and robotised with some – limited – human supervision. Auditing could be largely automated. Automotive is a perfect example of ongoing robotic automation. Banking could be automated far beyond the current human belief. Small competitors, including tiny start-ups, prove that each day.

In my view, we are in a Technological Revolution that started some 200 years ago. As stated in my 23 March 2015 blog called Technological Revolution (1800-2100) and a New Renaissance (2100 onwards): “I am convinced that historians in 1,000 years from now will say that we were in a Technological Revolution from 1760 onwards. Our Technological Revolution may well end after developing an eco system that is no longer reliant on the depletion of natural resources (e.g., food, fossil energy, metals). Let’s assume that to be the year 2100”.

Any business that thrives on human care, human contact, creation, creativity and imagination should be able to survive. And to be entirely clear: a cab ride usually does not qualify as “human contact”. A hairdresser does and it’s also a creative job. Many jobs that were once considered as safe, are now being replaced by an intriguing “toxic” cocktail of (robotic) automation, internet (of things), and consumer electronics (eg, smartphones).

Essentially, the classic human front-mid-back office structure of businesses is being replaced by smartphone apps that are integrated in a 24 hour order-to-delivery cycle. Human involvement is no longer required and – more importantly – no longer desired. Human labour is expensive, slows down operations, and often the cause of miscommunication and errors.

Krezip – Plug It In & Turn Me On (2007) – artist, lyrics, Wiki

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