Rev Walter Mwambazi's Blog
The digital age revolution is coming. And it is coming fast. And if you are not ready, it is going to leave you a casualty. It is critical that you prepare to adapt to it.
Enter Disruptive Thinking
The new digital age is going to upset the cart and disrupt virtually every industry you can fathom. We already have examples of industries that have been disrupted immensely.
Take for instance the camera and film processing industry. One of the most known names for that industry was Kodak. In 1998 Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide. Yet by 2003 Kodak had gone bankrupt. Today photo processing using photograph paper is virtually non-existent as all use digital printing instead.
Interestingly, digital photography was invented in 1975, but back then the pictures were only 10,000 pixels (10kp or 0.01MP!). The average high end phone today has back cameras that can take pictures with 20 megapixels! These pictures are way superior than photographs today and most importantly is that they can be instantly accessed.
Technology brings one factor to the table that everyone must recognize; convenience! Software is disrupting every major industry as we speak, and it shall do so exponentially.
Uber does not own any taxis, but they are the biggest taxi cab service in the world. AirBnB does not own any hotels, but they are the biggest hotel and lodging chain in the world.
As we speak, there are four key areas that are transforming all industry (and for students of eschatology, they are especially interesting) namely Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Bio Tech and Nanotechnology.
I won’t delve much into these ones today and will instead focus on the disruptive nature of technology and its implications on those reading this.
The combo of the four is disrupting traditional businesses faster than one can imagine. And don’t forget that technology increases exponentially. In short, when you see certain technology at the beginning, it is restrictively expensive because investors are recovering their investments in R&D (Research and Development). But within three to five years, most money is recovered and better still, generic versions of the technology quickly start to pop up in the market. These generic versions are usually the result of reverse engineering research (common from the Japanese and Chinese today).
In short, if you see some fancy tech today, within three years generic versions will show up in the market and take the market share as they will be cheaper than the prototype.
Mobile Phone Industry
About 12 years ago Nokia, Ericcson and Blackberry were leaders in the mobile phone industry. They did not anticipate the power of the smartphone and its disruptive nature. Apple and Samsung invested heavily on the Smartphone Touch Screen Tech with one exceptional strategy; open up the market and allow apps and developers to work further by developing a phone with a platform (iOS or Android), and allow outsiders (the techie community) to build and develop apps and most importantly, monetize those apps!
You know what happened to the companies I mention. They are no longer leaders and in some cases, have even been sold and absorbed by the bigger innovators.
There is another company that has taken on this platform strategy to a whole new level – Facebook!
It’s a website but does not generate any content (that’s user driven instead) including games, apps, events, pictures, videos etc. Yet they have monetized and made a killing with this, making its owner the youngest billionaire in the world!
YouTube is by far the largest source of video content in the world! Yet it’s not generated by them, but its users instead.
The Automobile Industry
The automobile industry is about to face major disruption in the form of computerized cars. These will work with GPS so that they can drive themselves. The implications is that in the next 30 years owning cars will no longer be necessary as one will only need to call a car and it will take them where they need to go at a fraction of the current costs.
The first driverless trucks are being introduced in the UK next year. Over the next 5 years they will become the alternative to drivers.
Remember, they never ask for breaks, pay rises, leave or even have work stoppages let alone health insurance and pensions. These are no-brainers for shareholders. That means an entire industry is disrupted!
Computers on wheels mean traditional cars are going to disappear within a generation. Think I am exaggerating? Where is the landline today? It’s virtually extinct. And it will be in the next 10 years!
Mobile Phone Service Operators
Speaking of telephones, the big network operators no longer make money from voice calls or even internet anymore. This is a fact. The price of both will keep dropping further. As we speak, Google is investing in technology that will allow internet to be transmitted from space! Think of a large Wi-Fi accessible from anywhere in the world (kind of like satellite TV).
As we speak analogue signals will all be switched off completely by the end of this year!
This is why the mobile service providers are now making their money using value added features or services such as “hello tunes”, “sports updates” and many more. They have realized that the money is in the services and like Facebook, they need to just build a large network and then lease that like real estate to users who then “rent” their platform and place their virtual products there!
Cyberspace – The Next Real Estate
Speaking of real estate, the next real big boom is in cyberspace – not physical ground! Those that invest and position themselves in the virtual world of cyberspace shall stand to become millionaires in the near future. I kid you not!
Take Mwebantu Media for instance. They now have a following that is inching toward 1 million. They have started monetizing their platform by providing advertising for those interested. They simply worked hard to build a massive platform of followers by providing value for them (news that is deemed balanced and objective). Once they did so, they have since been monetizing. Next time you visit them, check their wall and you will notice advert postings!
Positioning is everything! Building a list is paramount! Creating a massive following is the secret sauce to monetizing effectively! If you are active in business today but are not building a list – you are insane! You will go bankrupt.
The Energy Sector
Another area that is going to see massive changes is the energy sector. Fossil fuels are disappearing. Solar is taking its place instead! As we speak, much money is being spent on R&D for alternative energy. So, solar will become cheaper, bio energy will grow. Electric cars are the way of the future. Driverless cars are coming. This means less people will need to own cars within the next 30 years.
A time is coming when people won’t even bother to learn how to drive because such cars won’t exist anymore! And yes a time will come when that entire industry will be disrupted.
The Insurance Sector
Take insurance for instance, with no drivers and very few accidents, premiums will drop to really low levels, thus wiping out the very sector that general insurance thrives on currently. It is a sector that has numbered days within a generation (roughly 20 years)!
This is not the only challenge with the digital era. The bigger nightmare lies in companies that have never been traditionally termed as “experts” that will take on business from the “traditional players”.
Diagnosis and Consultancy
Take law for instance. IBM’s Watson can give legal advice 20% more accurately than a human lawyer can. If you are studying law the only way you will succeed is to specialize and unfortunately, within a generation new students may need another profession!
Health diagnosis is changing as we speak. Quantum analysis is improving exponentially. Within a very short time (less than 5 years) apps will work with your smartphone and wearables such as your smart watch to measure your blood pressure, sugar and other biometrics and even transmit such info to a data centre that can immediately recommend treatment and where to get it.
The insurance industry is already seeing non-traditional players in their industry (banks tackling life assurance). This will also extend to travel, household, home and health insurance.
The Banking Sector
Banking is now seriously moving away from the model where you had large workforces to service the population. Instead internet banking, ATMs, self-service banking are the new model that is replacing them. This means more convenience for the user and threatens the personnel more as we will see the teller virtually disappear. Within the next 15 years all ATMs will be able to accept cash and checks plus do a myriad of other functions. Coupled with smarter apps there will come a time when even opening a bank account won’t require that one go into the bank to do so. The banks will make more money with fewer personnel.
We are already seeing this in traditionally slow and bureaucratic places like ZRA, PACRA, ZPPA, NAPSA and even the government where e-business, e-registration, e-pay slips is changing the landscape.
As we speak ZICTA is working very closely with all leading stakeholders to create a switch that will allow all these technologies to “see” each other. This will be coupled with what will be a “super identity number” that is given at birth and will be unique and the key life identity throughout. The implications are that within a generation, you will be able to initiate all your needs from your phone or computer anywhere in Zambia.
This kind of disruptive innovation is happening everywhere.
The Agriculture Sector
Agroponics, hydroponics and even aeroponics are completely revolutionizing the agricultural sector. Here in Zambia we have already seen it happening. Fish farming, chicken rearing and incubation is standard features. This means the price of fish is going to drop as more fish farms come around. This has already happened with the chicken (anyone remember that 30 years ago chickens were the most expensive forms of protein right?). Incubation technology is more readily available than ever and thus means now more food will be made available in cheaper and more efficient ways.
The above has serious disruptive implications.
This is the reason why Apple, Tesla, Google and other tech companies are always on the cutting edge of innovation and spend millions of dollars in R&D to stay ahead and promote disruptive thinking!
7 Jobs That Will Be Taken over by Robots (Within the Next 30 Years)
Parts of this section were inspired by an article written on the French website slate.fr and are used here with permission.
As I had hinted earlier in this article, Robotics is going to make a significant impact. When combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Nanotechnology, these technologies are expected to bring about the most momentous transformation of the labor market since the industrial revolution, warns Forbes Magazine.
And the extent of the economic and social shock that the arrival of intelligent robots will bring is far from being measured yet.
According to a survey conducted in the United States by the Pew Research Center, 80% of Americans believe their jobs will probably or surely still exist in its current form in the next 50 years. Big mistake! And be careful, the jobs that will be taken first by the intelligent robots are not only manual or low-skilled.
You all know very well that whatever starts in the developed world is certainly going to trickle down to us all in the third world. There may be a few differences but the major impact is still going to be felt.
This revolution is already underway. To be convinced, just look at these recent forecasts from the IDC (Institute of Democracy and Cooperation) and the 7 types of jobs are particularly threatened and are not necessarily the ones that first come to mind.
Please bear in mind that the statistics here are all based on the developed world and may not immediately impact the third world.
There are now 3.5 million truckers in the United States. If McKinsey’s forecast is correct, in less than ten years, 33 % of the trucks on American roads will be driverless trucks. That means: more than 1 million jobs killed…
#2 – Construction workers
SAM (Semi-Automated Mason) is two to three times more productive than a human bricklayer, by being able to lay, per day, 1,200 bricks (compared to a human with a number between 300 and 500 per day). And it’s only the beginning!
Bulldozers and cranes will also become driverless.
#3 – Legal Advisors
According to a report by Deloitte, 39% of jobs in legal services will be automated by 2020. Sectors directly concerned: legislative research, contract analysis and auditing.
#4 – Medical staff and doctors
Medical robots are rising. Watson, the medical robot designed by IBM, is already working with medical teams to detect and treat cancers and robots should soon be actively involved in diagnostics and surgical procedures. The Tricorder from Star Trek is not very far from becoming a reality.
#5 – Accountants
Running accounting software, preparing balance sheets, financial balances, checking records, calculating profitability, measuring stocks, are tasks that robots will do better than humans. Financial analysts are in the same boat as accountants. Artificial Intelligence Driven Machines are already able to make predictive analytics and detect trends more quickly and accurately than humans do.
#6 – Editors
Novelists still have a future, but financial writers or those who write all kinds reports have a limited future. It’s right now the beginning of AI Machines that are able to write increasingly readable factual texts.
#7 – Sellers
As consumers increasingly switch to e-commerce and will use software to accurately determine the type of products, prices and availability, many forms of vendors will disappear.
If these evolutions seem frightening, it is necessary to remember the lessons of history. Many professions have disappeared and many have been created. The destruction/creation process is still at work. None of our grandparents were an application designer, a data scientist or a drone pilot.
But then, how many jobs will be created compared to those that will be killed off? Will it be more or less? And what are the social implications on low-skilled people and middle class personnel?
The digital age revolution has one thing in its wake, it’s disruptive in a very positive and negative way simultaneously. The digital age revolution has changed everything we hold dear. Jobs are changing, tech is changing, business is changing, education is changing, and health-care is changing.
In the movie “Hidden Figures”the American space program administered by NASA in the 1960s had a number of female African Americans who were called “human calculators” because they were geniuses who could calculate huge complex equations mentally and in very short times compared to ordinary people. They were thus indispensable.
But then IBM manufactured the first computer that was the size of a small room. However, that computer was incredibly complicated to use and required programmers and code generators.
These ladies sensing the changes that were about to happen – at their own expense – quickly went on to learn and acquire the skills required operate this monster computer. Once NASA scientists had figured out how to make the computer work, the ladies could not be fired (mind you their work was rendered obsolete almost instantly) because now this computer needed an operator, and these ladies could do the job better than anyone else.
They read the times, understood the trends and where they were heading to, adapted effectively and transitioned into the new era by remaining relevant!
Even today virtually every sector is changing and this change is going to happen whether we like it or not. So when the changes happen, where will it find you? Will you be ready or will you be a casualty?
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Rev Walter Mwambazi
Author of "The 7 Principles for Financial Prosperity", Life Coach, Facilitator, Peak Performance Coach, Digital Marketing Professional, Network Marketer, Health & Wellness Consultant, Pastor, Copy Writer, Motivation Speaker & Writer.