|By Shelly Palmer||
|October 21, 2012 03:01 AM EDT||
One striking aspect of this presidential campaign season is the lack of vision for, or even mention of, the future. Neither campaign is talking much about how it sees the future unfolding. We’re hearing differing views about how 20th Century jobs can be created. Some candidates (not specifically presidential candidates) are speaking of creating high-paying, hi-tech jobs in New York, my home state.
Here’s the problem: We are never going to need vast numbers of unskilled laborers again. In fact, we don’t need them now. People who translate the value of their muscles to wealth by repeating minimally complicated algorithmic tasks are being replaced by computer-controlled machines at an alarming rate. This trend will never reverse; these jobs can never be recreated.
To make matters worse, the speed and capacity of computing power is increasing at an exponential rate, which means that in a very few years, people who translate the value of their brain’s computational power into wealth by repeating minimally complicated algorithmic tasks will be replaced by computers.
Do not confuse the idea of your brain’s computational power with the power of reason, the ability to think strategically or even just the ability to think. Consider the act of adding a column of numbers – it is not a skill that you need a human to do, and it never will be again. There is no philosophical or existential or theoretically or metaphysical angle to the previous statement. You don’t need a human being’s brain to add a column of numbers.
There are thousands of jobs that humans do now, that computers can and will do better and more cost-effectively. Computer-controlled machines can and will replace people doing what most perceive to be jobs that only people can do. It is an immutable fact of connected life in the 21st century.
According to Intel, IBM, Cisco and about a zillion pundits and computer geeks, by 2020 we should expect computers to have the computational capability of a human brain. Not the soul of a person, not the personality of a human, not intelligence, not consciousness, not human qualities – just the computational power.
Now, please use your very human, very powerful brain to think about all of the jobs in the world that people currently do that require computation based upon algorithms, but very little or no thought.
Go to alexa.com and type in the name of your favorite website. There is a bunch of prose on the page — it was not written by a human, it was written by an algorithm.
In a couple of minutes, you will think of hundreds of examples of jobs that are so structured that, in many cases, they would be better accomplished by a computer than by a human. From customer service, to fraud and crime prevention, to monitoring the security of your premises, computers with highly sensitive sensors and good data-to-prose software will almost always do a better job than an organic life form. Plus computers don’t sleep, take breaks, daydream or have mood swings.
If I were you, I’d be thinking that this is all science fiction and that machines and computers are not going to replace humans anytime soon. You may be right. But I have news for you: exo-digitally enhanced humans are better than regular humans, and this is the first step.
What is an exo-digitally enhanced human? It is a person with a network-connected smartphone, tablet or other digital tool who knows how to use it. The best users have already outsourced their factoid and informational memory to Google, Wikipedia, IMDB, PubMed and other specialized databases. Short number memory is outsourced to the favorites section of your smart phone software. Way-finding cells in your hippocampus are atrophying because you have outsourced your way-finding to GPS systems and mapping software. I could go on and on, and so could you.
If you’re honest about how we live and work in a connected world, it doesn’t take long to see what a huge advantage exo-digitally enhanced human workers have over organic, natural human workers. (Notice I said “workers.” Organic people are magical and sacred creatures, but as workers, they simply cannot compete with people who are exo-digitally enhanced.)
This trend is going to continue. But it gets worse.
Just one year ago, it took an IT professional about three to four hours to on-board a new executive to our staff. First, we purchased a new computer, which the IT manager loaded up with Microsoft Office and all of the other programs we use. It was given access and permissions to our VPN, etc., etc., etc.
This year, it takes an IT professional about three to four seconds to accomplish the same goal. New execs use their own computers and receive a company email address, which grants them access to 100% of the business software we use through the cloud. Nothing downloaded, nothing patched, nothing purchased, nothing to tweak – just instant access to everything on any device our new execs might already have.
We no longer have house elves toiling racks of servers, no one is patching anything and no one is managing physical discs or licenses. We only need one IT person to administer email addresses and permissions. In practice, this is not even a full-time job, so six highly skilled people lost their jobs. We didn’t buy a new computer – Intel’s sales numbers tell the story. We now live in a post-PC world. We didn’t buy any physical media or use any gas to move the goods. UPS and FedEx need less people. We didn’t buy any local back-up drives – that entire value chain is negatively impacted.
Two curves are becoming obvious here. One is that exo-digitally enhanced humans are far more productive when compared to their non exo-digitally enhanced counterparts. The other is that unemployment of unskilled and 20th century skilled workers can only increase. It will never decrease. It can’t.
Stay tuned and look for Part 2, in which we’ll talk about endo-digitally enhanced humans. By 2025, it’s going to be a whole new ball game. Hang onto your iDevice!
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
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The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
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The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 2,285
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
Nov. 27, 2014 03:00 PM EST Reads: 2,158
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 27, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 2,184
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
Nov. 27, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,004
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
Nov. 27, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,996
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
Nov. 27, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 1,991
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Nov. 27, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 2,098
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 27, 2014 07:00 AM EST Reads: 2,177
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Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 2,222
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Nov. 27, 2014 06:45 AM EST Reads: 2,139
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"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 27, 2014 04:00 AM EST Reads: 1,889
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Nov. 26, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,137
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Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,290
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 2,049
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Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,416
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 2,279