The Kiosks are Coming!
"Innovation and disruption are the hallmarks of the technology world, and hardly a moment passes when we are not thinking, doing, or talking about these topics."
- Steven Sinofsky (former President of the Windows Division at Microsoft)
The Super Market industry is about to be disrupted by Amazon Go. Fast food workers are having their jobs disrupted by Kiosks. And the Taxi industry has been disrupted by services like Uber and Lyft. In our digital age, industry disruption is becoming the norm, rather than the exception.
For those that don't read about Entrepreneurs, and Silicon Valley on a daily basis, disruption is a term used to describe what happens when a new technology totally changes the way business is done in a given field. Uber is a classic example of disruption at work. Before Uber started in 2009, the U.S. Taxi industry was one of the most closed off, stagnant business models in the world. Then almost out of nowhere, Uber showed up and took the industry in an entirely new direction. They didn't just innovate or iterate on the existing idea. Uber disrupted the industry.
More and more, entrepreneurs are trying to be the next billion-dollar Silicon Valley success story. Forearmed with the knowledge that disruption is a fact, we need to be on the lookout for how our jobs might be affected in the future. Be aware of emerging tech, and try to keep up to date with what new ideas are on the horizon. If you can identify disruptive ideas before they hit, you can prepare accordingly.
Here are two industries that I think will go through massive changes within the next ten years.
Health Care. Have you heard of IMB's Watson system? Essentially, it's the world's most advanced version of Siri. It isn't actually artificial intelligence, but it's the next best thing. Why should Doctors or Nurses worry about a question answering super computer? Because Watson is already helping MD Anderson diagnose and decide upon treatments for Leukemia patients. In the near future, Watson could totally replace much of the memorization that Doctors need to have. Using a computer for diagnoses and answering patients' questions could vastly reduce the number of doctors required.
Education. The Industrial Educational Complex has seen only very small amounts of change over the last 100 years. The methods used in the school classrooms and College lecture halls of 1917 were not all that different from the ones we still use in 2017. This lack of innovation has played a large role in the U.S. falling behind many other countries' test scores (a flawed system, for another blog post). In the last five years, there has been an explosion in alternative education platforms. Services like Kahn Academy, Coursera and Praxis are changing the education game. It's only a matter of time before there is a massive shift in our national methods of education.
So, what should you take away from this? Well, if you are a Teacher, Nurse, or Doctor, it would probably be very wise to come up with a backup career path into which you can pivot, if needed. Even if you aren't involved with the Health Care or Education industries, be on the lookout for how your job could be ripe for disruption in the near future.
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