Will #technology replace your job?

Joseph Schumpeter was an Austrian economist born in 1883 who wrote about how new technology tends to replace and destroy old technology. The automobile replacing the horse and buggy, MP3 players replacing CDs, or solar panels replacing the traditional power grid.

Schumpeter called this process “Creative Destruction”.

My wife is a realtor, and we were talking about how realtors are starting to be replaced by online listing services. There are many sales people who have been replaced by technology already; travel agents, life insurance agents, even retail salespeople in chain stores like Kmart and Sears.

The internet has replaced millions of jobs, in Balloon Distractions I use an online scheduler to organize entertainers from California to Texas to Florida. Without the internet and our software I would need a full-time staffer to handle that function, but our online scheduler does it all, from scheduling to billing.

These job losses are obvious, toll collectors in Florida are almost gone, replaced by EZ pass. There is now automatic check-out at retail stores and McDonald’s. Online banking is replacing bank branches. The next decade will see more of this.

When solar becomes widespread the electric utilities will either go bankrupt or switch to a new business model entirely. Brick and mortar retail is going to disappear, along with millions of jobs. Truck drivers are going to be replaced by super safe robot drivers, probably before 2025. Jobs in fossil fuels will still persist until around 2035, but college students would be silly to pursue a long term career in coal mining, oil exploration or natural gas fracking.

I’m 43 years old, so the folks who are my age in these industries might make it to 60 and still maintain employment, but younger folks should gravitate to the industries that are going to grow between now and 2060; solar and renewables, robotics, artificial intelligence studies, composite and nanotech materials technology, battery technology, genetics engineering and biomedical, or even basic studies in entrepreneurship and leadership.

The future will require skilled entrepreneurs with leadership ability who can take a business concept and bring it to profitability in the global marketplace.

I started delving into leadership studies back in 2014, this has deepened my understanding of what it takes to develop and grow a team. I’ve applied this to Balloon Distractions as well as Life Leadership, and both ventures are now profitable.

In the last few years I’ve been learning about green tech (and writing about it as well). Sometimes learning comes before earning, there is a trillion dollar opportunity in solar for any entrepreneur who understands how to sell the new technology.

Solar is starting to pop up on roofs across the United States, so anyone who facilitates this process will profit accordingly.

Look at your current job and think about how artificial intelligence, robotics or the internet might replace you in the next decade. 

NOW is the right time to start a business on the side, you might want to dig the well BEFORE you need the water.

If you’ve been in a job your entire career you can still learn how to be an entrepreneur. This is a great skillset, and entrepreneurial skills can be used in any business model, with any product, no matter how advanced technology becomes.

Ben Alexander

March . 2017

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