Are the emerging machines our friend or foe?  The debut of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things IoT) and a host of others seem to be drowning us as we drink from a technological fire hose.  Additionally, driverless vehicles, the Gig Economy et al. are conspiring to eliminate truck drivers and full-time jobs.

Politicians lament this progress and promise, guaranteed basic income and re-training designed transform energy extraction employees into 50 something coders.  Recent college grads are told their (high debt) degrees are worthless and others advised not to seek higher education.  What in the world are we to do?

Well one learned, well known observer has a plan.  Fortunately, a cinematographer has captured it in the following clip.  A little over a minute long.

Well, maybe Chicken Little is not the best source for guidance.  But again, it does look like aliens played a role.  Perhaps, these new machines are really alien inspired!

In our real world, the ‘only constant is change’ and barring a meteorite hitting one on the head, if not embraced change needs to be tolerated.  Since this writer graduated from college in 1970 prepared to enter the nuclear power industry (we all know how well that sector fared), several new (then unknown) industries now employ millions across the globe.  Including, me!

To be sure other sectors have shrunk and even disappeared.  Most employed by those sectors had to adapt to a new business climate.  Many thrived—some did not!

There is no doubt that individuals need to remain flexible and ‘skill relevant’ in a fast-paced market.  This was true 100 years ago and likely will be so in another 100 years.

It Can Be Done

3M Corporation, formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company was founded in 1902.  Initially, it provided heavy industrial products such as sandpaper.  A need for innovation was identified early in its history due to quality issues.  The firm has evolved to one with a global footprint that sells a wide variety of industrial and consumer products.[i]

The company has codified its Innovation Culture—”Employing the Thirty Percent Rule, 30% of each division’s revenues must come from products introduced in the last four years.  This is tracked rigorously, and employee bonuses are based on successful achievement of this goal.”[ii]

This Agility evolved from the founding of a heavy industrial firm that started innovating early.  This and other success stories suggest than NO firm and NO employee/supplier need fear even dramatic change.  Adapt YES, give up NO.

Are the emerging machines our friend or foe?  I guess the answer is, “It depends.”  Just like it has been since humans invented fire and found a stick to clobber something/someone with.

President Theodore Roosevelt is credited with saying, “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”[iii]  Likely, the sky will not fall.  More likely we may be hit by Isaac Newton’s (inspirational) apple.

Is Your Innovative Sky Falling or Is What’s Hitting You Really a Golden Apple?

For More Information

This subject is touched upon by this blogger herein and in other venues.  Readers are invited to review these materials with particular attention to Job Disruption Due To Digitalization: Myths And Legends—June 1, 2019.

In the research for this blog, several versions of the Chicken Little animation were found.  In your spare time, you may find several of them very amusing.

Please note, RRI does not endorse or advocate these films and does not have a relationship with their producers and distributors.  Provided for fun and entertainment only.

You can contact the author more information as well.

End Notes

[i]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3M

[ii]  https://hbr.org/2013/08/the-innovation-mindset-in-acti-3

[iii]  https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/theodore_roosevelt_136001