Interaction Between Jobs And Technology

 

Cognitive

Task

Tax preparers

Typists

Plumbers

Real estate agents

Cartographers

Mechanical engineers

Credit analysts

Cooks

Geological technicians

Authors & writers
Veterinarians

Manual

Task

Assembly line

Unskilled labourers

Baggage porters

Wholesale/retail workers

Train & crane operators

Chauffeurs

 

Routine Task

Non-routine Task

Over the years, machines have replaced dozens of workers and software has replaced service sector work as defined under the routine task column. In recent times, non-routine tasks are also being replaced by machines. If your job requires "perception and manipulation", there is an increasing chance of its being replaced. However, if the job requires creative (development of novel ideas) and/or social intelligence (much human interaction and empathy), it is less likely to be replaced. Thus jobs at low risk include psychologists, curators, personal trainers, archaeologists, marketers, public relations, most engineers, surgeons, fashion designers, etc. On the other hand, some professions under threat include

- lawyers (as cheap notary software and algorithms that can read thousands of pages much more quickly than a clerk)

- traders (algorithms are doing the calculations around stocks and shares, etc quicker and more accurately)

The most successful organisations will combine human creativity with raw machine intelligence.

· Linked with the invasion of technology is the declining share of income going to labour rather than capital. There are large returns to the owners of machine intelligence and global "winner takes all" successes that digital products produced. This highlights the importance of education in achieving personal prosperity.

The more a firm grows and is successful, the greater its risk of becoming a bureaucracy.

The challenge is to find ways to stop staff retreating into the departmental ghettos when companies become big. When they are start-ups with a small number of staff, fragmentation is not a threat

Some, such as Apple, had managed to overcome the bureaucratic trend by having a dominating chief executive (Steve Jobs) who bashed down the silos.

Facebook, which is employing more than 4,000 people (a 40% increase in 12 months), is trying to derail this bureaucratizing trend by encouraging staff interaction from different areas to facilitate the production of new ideas. Some silo-busting methods used by Facebook include

- holding open meetings where staff are encouraged to mingle and grill senior executives

- encourage meeting, like lunches, with randomly selected staff from different areas

- staff are encouraged to change teams regularly

- staff are encouraged to work in different departments

- new staff in their initial in-house training are encouraged to form lasting relationships with staff who are going into different sections

- "hackathons" where staff are encouraged to attend to all-night computer programming events that occur monthly

- staff are encouraged to use first names and there is a ban on calling people by their surnames and/or using titles

"...One of the biggest challenges with a company growing fast is that, as you add more people, you stop knowing each other or meeting each other. The communications start to go up and down silos..."

Pedram Keyani (Facebook) as quoted by Gillian Tett, 2013

NB The values displayed by start-ups can be very different from those established organisations. The start-ups can be very brash and show no respect for the industry norms, traditions, ways of doing business, governance, etc, while the bigger and more economically important an organisation becomes, the more corporate values of clear hierarchy, centralised control, accountability, discipline, respect for rules and procedures, etc become apparent

(sources: Karlson Hargroves, 2005; Freek Vermeulin et al, 2010; Gary Hamel, 2005; Jim Collins, 2008; Fiona Smith, 2010m; Andrew Parris, 2006; MIT Sloan School of Management, 2008; Patrick Dawson, 2005; Clayton Christensen et al, 2003; Brad Hatch, 2007b; Gillian Tett, 2013;Neil Irwin, 2014)

 

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