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Don't Be a Luddite


During the industrial revolution the Luddites opposed change and fought against the notion that machines would be used to get around labour laws.

The term Luddite today is used to describe anyone who opposes automation and new technologies.

We are on the cusp of another breakthrough, similar in impact to the industrial evolution or the information technology age, and along with all of the benefits, it will spawn the next generation of Luddites.

This evolution will see Artificial Intelligence in many forms, impact our lives.

  • Jobs will be lost in the same way that typing pools were replaced by word processing technology.

  • The Internet of Things will come with the smarts to effect our daily lives in ways we can only begin to understand.

  • Robots and robotics will also advance with AI smarts to preform more complex tasks than previously thought possible.

We will continue to be impacted by the effects of globalisation, including the offshoring of jobs, the access to goods produced in low cost environments and the ability of entrepreneurs to enter foreign markets easily and quickly through the internet.

We are experiencing a huge change in the way we work. The retiring boomers leave a big gap to fill and there are not enough people in Western countries to fill those gaps. Skilled talent is in demand (the #1 concern of CEOs worldwide) and progressive countries are finding ways to attract this talent. There is a growth in self employment, evidenced with the gig economy and the many enabling technologies that make this possible. People work from home, and jobs are shared more often than ever.

"It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory." W Edward Deming

So ... how are we to respond in an era of such change?

Here are some thoughts:

  1. Change is inevitable. Fighting change is like trying to hold back the tide. Embrace change and find a way to make it work for you.

  2. The industrial revolution ultimately resulted in more jobs, a better standard of living and better work conditions.

  3. Factors that will work in favor of job opportunity include:

    • the impact of demographics that will create job shortages,

    • the new economy jobs requiring more tech skills and

    • the opening of global markets that any company can now access.

  4. The way to protect yourself in this new world is not to fight change, but rather to invest in your skills. Get "in demand" skills which might include any profession or trade and develop great soft skills, or better yet get involved with emerging technologies.

  5. In a world where we will see more and more shortages of talent, companies will hire for attitude first, and skills second. Do you have a positive attitude and strong work ethic? Find experience that will prove these assets!

  6. Companies need to be profitable in order to survive, so make sure that you are important to your employer. Just putting in time will not make you a "keeper".

With change comes opportunity. I believe that this amount of change is going to create a ton of opportunity.

I also believe that it will not fall in our lap ... and it will be easy to be left behind.

So ... invest in yourself and learn new skills.

"The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." Charles Kettering

Do NOT become the modern day Luddite, but rather focus on the opportunities.