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Old Days and Old Ways Are Gone: Embracing the New Way to Work

By December 13, 2021 No Comments

Back in 1990, a New York Times article delved into how, despite the best efforts by computer companies to make offices “paperless,” papers continued to be a vital part of our offices. It was around the time Steve Jobs-led NeXT Inc. was using its work stations to replace papers in its office with electronic files transmitted over the company’s internal network.

Alexander Gray, an information systems manager at NeXT, told the NYT, “We didn’t want to have miles and miles of clerks doing nothing but managing paper.” Massive amounts of paper in workplaces required manpower for handling and storage. Millions of full-time workers across the globe were tasked with the responsibility of managing paper.

Fast forward three decades and papers have nearly disappeared from modern offices. So have the jobs of clerks that managed paper. In fact, hundreds of jobs that existed in 1990 have been replaced by computers, algorithms , and robotics. Many organizations don’t even have an office (think Decentralized Autonomous Organizations). 

The end…and a new beginning

Many of the jobs and professions that we think will never go away could vanish in a few years. For example, today if you need to get a document verified, you head over to the notary. But would you still go to the notary if there was a faster, cheaper, more convenient and more reliable way to verify documents?

Blockademia is helping corporations and institutions issue and verify the authenticity of diplomas, certificates, contracts, insurance policies, state documents, certificates of ownership, video & music files, source code, and a variety of other documents on the blockchain. Blockchain entries are public, immutable; and all entries are recorded with their exact time and date. That makes it impossible for anyone to tamper with an on-chain document without consensus and without leaving a trail.

Drivers affiliated with ride-hailing services are also at risk. Chinese giant Didi Chuxing is developing self-driving cars. Lyft has teamed up with Ford and Argo AI to start offering rides in autonomous vehicles, eliminating the need for human drivers. Hundreds of thousands of drivers may soon have to acquire new skills and change their occupations. 

New technologies bring efficiency, safety, convenience, and productivity. So, anything that could be disrupted, will be disrupted by technology. It’s just a matter of time.

A net job creator

Amazon uses hundreds of thousands of robots in its warehouses alongside human workers. And the e-commerce giant is optimistic that sidewalk robots are the future of last-mile delivery. It illustrates the fact that the skilled, tech-savvy people are creating tools to automate the jobs of unskilled, not-so-tech-savvy workers. 

It doesn’t mean technological innovations are going to leave all the world’s working population jobless. At least once every generation, technology drives a major shift in the way we work. Though it looks scary in the short-term, especially to people at risk of losing their jobs, technology tends to open doors to more opportunities.

The emergence of the automobile industry created jobs in supplementary industries such as filling stations, repair shops, and so on. Amazon’s warehouse and delivery robots may kill some low-paying jobs. But Amazon has pledged $700 million to re-train 100,000 employees for higher-skilled jobs in technology.

According to McKinsey, up to 40% of all workers in developed nations might have to upgrade their skills significantly or move to new occupations. The onus falls on both organizations and employees to acquire new capabilities to thrive in the years to come.

Despite the perception that technology kills jobs, it has been a net creator of jobs. Since 1980, the rise of personal computing and the Internet has destroyed about 3.5 million jobs in the United States, but it has helped create more than 19 million new jobs!

Securing the space

One might argue that with emerging technologies such as blockchain and quantum computing would come new security threats. Gartner said in 2019, “By 2021, 90% of current enterprise blockchain platform implementations will require replacement within 18 months to remain competitive, secure and avoid obsolescence.” Even if Gartner gets the timeline wrong, the issue it’s talking about is a serious one.

There have been concerns about quantum computers being able to break even the most asymmetric cryptography used in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other blockchains. QANplatform has built a quantum-resistant blockchain to prevent quantum computers from compromising the security of networks. It’s a hybrid blockchain with lattice-based cryptography to secure the network from quantum attacks in the future.

Closing thoughts

The technology-driven tectonic shift in the way we work and do business is currently underway. Many old jobs will disappear, many more new ones will emerge. More often than not, it’s the people and organizations that accept the reality of new technologies early on tend to have an edge over those that resist.