I recently attended a Tech UK discussion forum, the subject was ‘Has technology created or destroyed jobs’, the answer is, of course, both. Over time jobs have been created and jobs lost, where technology has replaced hands, but has created a whole new set of services, in particular for us as consumers.
The steam engine was created in 1712; it was 1908 when Henry Ford created the Model T, the first mass produced car made on an assembly line. In 1962 the first industrial robot came online in a General Motors factory in New Jersey.
The industrial revolution took almost 250 years, we have now entered the digital revolution, starting with the World Wide Web in 1989, only 26 years ago.
I predict the impact and speed of change through the digital revolution on you, me, our children, will far out strip the disruptive nature of the industrial revolution.
We are entering the perfect digital storm, where all the pieces that are required to accelerate the speed of the digital age are coming together, high speed mobile communications, 4G, 5G, Smart devices, the internet of everything, storage devices the size of postage stamps and of course cloud everywhere. But as in every storm there lies danger, in the case of digital, cyber crime in all its forms, denial of service, personal data theft, industrial espionage, financial theft, hacking, personal abuse, company reputations, are all open to attack
So back to the question of the debate ‘Has technology created or destroyed jobs’. The digital revolution and with it the increasing threat of cyber crime is in my view not just an issue for technologists but also for every individual member of society and needs to be at the heart of the UK PLC strategy for growth. Protection against cyber attack should be everyone’s responsibility – from board level down to new recruits. We are all at risk of being hacked – both on business and personal level. Management must establish the processes and every staff member must be aware and vigilant against attack. By ensuring that we all take responsibility, we can ensure that we are better able to take advantage of the digital revolution and together we can transform the way we transact in the digital world.
In my view the future success of all companies, governments, local and central will rest on how they/we take full advantage of the perfect digital storm to drive our businesses and social engagement forward.