Personal digital transformation: How are you preparing for what’s to come?

Digital transformation is one of the hot spots in companies at the moment. How do we make traditional companies compete in a digital world over the threat of company extinction? However, there is one important question that most people do not ask themselves. How am I, as a person and a professional, going to adapt to the changes of the coming years?

At a time when it is estimated that between 40 and 60 percent of jobs will disappear in the next 15 years and be replaced by machines, what are you doing for your future so that it doesn’t become obsolete, like the computer in your drawer that you haven’t used in five haven’t used in five years? It is time to think about DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION.

What is the most popular profession in the United States? Truck driver. By the year 2020 most car manufacturers will have vehicles with autopilot. In April of this year, a fleet of trucks crossed Europe with autopilot. Uber begins this month with experiments in transporting the first passengers in driverless cars. And the cab companies that currently have the discourse of being great providers of employment for so many drivers, as soon as they see the opportunity to get into cars without a driver, they will not hesitate. There are professions that will clearly disappear in the future as has happened throughout history. Is there any point in studying languages and being a translator when simultaneous translation is already a reality? These changes have always happened, the big difference is the speed with which they are happening now. And as these jobs disappear, many people who had middle-income jobs will move to lower-income jobs. At the same time several occupations are going to pay more than before.

Although they will not disappear, many of the jobs will be replaced by others with lower conditions. The retailer Macey’s in the United States, which is doing an excellent job of integrating e-commerce and stores, is planning to hire more people in its new structure so that the average salary (many of them are logistics positions), is estimated to drop by half.

There are skills that will be harder to replace by machines. Components of data analysis and logic are fundamental in everyone’s education so that we understand the ‘machines’ and at the same time we must be good at what they will take longer to improve, such as creativity, interpersonal, etc.

What to do? One of the critical points is education. Essentially two points: 1. Changing the educational model of the new generations and 2. betting on our personal continuing personal education.

1. Education will have to be rethought: We are still clinging to the education of a society of 50 years ago. Information in libraries was difficult to access and justified memorization, now we have unlimited information on our phones. A segmentation of students based only on age (they all enter school at the same time and learn the same things in the same way), will have to be replaced by personalization (everyone learns at their own pace and in the way that suits them best). We must teach students to think, understand the problem, gather information structure, analyze the data, and make decisions about it.

2. We have to look at education as something continuous: ‘I went to university 20 years ago and from then on I didn’t study anymore’ will no longer work. Day to day experience may not be enough to keep up to date. Online courses, reading, forums are all tools available to everyone. We are back to Darwinism, the one who survives is not the strongest, but the one with the greatest ability to adapt and evolve.

Even professions that we think are safe have to evolve. Programming, for example, is changing from explaining to the machine what to do to teaching it to program itself (machine learning and artificial intelligence). The solution here is to stop looking at education as something we do at the beginning of our lives.

I am not anti-technology, quite the contrary. At the beginning of the 19th century the average life expectancy was 35 years and today we are in our 70s. The world seems to me today with much more opportunity and openness than ever before in history. Yet the social impact of technology is so great on society that it cannot be ignored or underestimated. How do you control a country with 40% unemployment, how do you reduce social inequalities in such a society? But not everything has to be negative. With machines replacing human labor and generating more wealth we can have a better society. Take for example the case of Norway, which thanks to oil wealth, has one of the societies with best quality of life in the world (and if they put the country in a warm place, it would be almost perfect).

But back to the topic you should focus on now, your personal digital transformation. A few questions remain: how do you expect you will change your profession? How are you preparing yourself for this change? and for those of you who have children, how are you prepare and advise them for what is to come?

David Bernardo
David Bernardo
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