- The digital economy is expanding rapidly to include many sectors (market verticals), what predictions do you have for how technology will change the nature of work in the next 10 years?
- Technology id becoming spreading to all areas of our economy. It is often cheaper and faster to use a machine. Are people now unable to compete with machines?
- Bill Gates has said he wants robots and software to be taxed on their productivity. Is this a fair idea?
- Can society survive with fewer people at work? What are the potential side effects?
Productive at a cost
Digital technology has dramatically shaped the way that businesses design and produce goods, connect with customers, and manage internal communication. We live in a connected world where new technologies bring benefits to the vast majority of individuals, communities, and businesses. But, despite the fact that digital revolution has significantly modernised the way things are done today, concerns have been raised against the digital world.
Digitisation has many benefits, but also a number of shortcomings. Businesses can increase their market operations and business growth by taking advantage of the digital revolution. However, among the downsides of the digital approach, digitisation requires a significant upfront investment in technology, staff, time and money. Accordingly, many business owners are quite rightly asking themselves if the benefits of digital transformation will actually outweigh the required time and effort. Integrating a new technology is a complex process; this is why specialised companies offer increasing support to managers and customers in the process of adopting new technology solutions.
The pace of technological changes is happening faster than ever. Science fiction works offer a fascinating example of this provided that many science fiction incredible inventions have turned into real science facts. One of the most captivating subject matters in science fiction literature is exploring the questions of the future of technology and humanity. In detail, science fiction’s artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the idea that scientists might soon create machines that are equally or more intelligent than human beings. Science fiction works have offered many visions of a computer-controlled future which most authors see as a menace. Stanley Kubrick’s A Space Odyssey (1968) not only predicted the escalation of our obsession with AI, but the ground-breaking influence of the film on subsequent filmmakers was quite substantial.
Questions to consider:
1. The internet and other forms of technology give students access to a huge wealth of knowledge. But, given the widely known copying and pasting phenomenon, is that knowledge durable over time?
2. The founders of Amazon, Facebook, and Google built digital companies from scratch, shaping the current environment in which businesses operate today. Is that why many companies have attempted to emulate the digitisation models of those world’s bastions of digital innovation companies?
3. When it comes to financial documents, hard copies are vital. Also, some people prefer to have paper copies of most documents. So, is it practical for a fully digitised company to go completely paperless?
4. Some say that the idea of e-commerce and m-commerce will be embraced by all local consumers in the near future. How will disadvantaged or unprivileged communities join in?
Match the definitions of the words on the right with the words on the left.
|1. Data||a. information in digital form that can be transmitted or processed.|
|2. Digitise||b. the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thing.|
|3. IoT||c. smoothly and continuously, with no apparent gaps or spaces between one part and the next.|
|4. Corporate||d. the Internet of Things: refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data.|
|5. Insight||e. accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically.|
|6. Scientist||f. relating to a corporation, especially a large company or group.|
|7. Field||g. a person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.|
|8. Seamlessly||h. to convert (something, such as data or an image) to digital form.|
|9. Leverage||i. change the emphasis, direction, or focus of.|
|10. Embrace||j. the power to influence a person or situation to achieve a particular outcome.|
|11. Shift||k. a place where a subject of scientific study or artistic representation can be observed in its natural location or context.|
Video: Hitachi’s Vision of Work
The video presentation below is an interview with a division of Hitachi. Companies and businesses are constantly monitoring developments to best adapt to a changing operating environment. Hitachi is working to incorporate the best of both people and machines.
Watch the video and then answer the questions below.
1. Who is Brian Householder?
2. What percentage of the companies is digitised?
3. What was Hitachi Vantara created for?
4. What do companies need?
5. What is a digitised company like?
6. What does a real digitised organization can do?
7. What has Hitachi Vantara found?
8. How is the data scientists’ time spent?
9. What is Hitachi Vantara’s role?
10. What does IoT mean?
11. What is Brian Householder‘s final advise?
If you’re unsure of the correct answer, check below.
Pros of the digital revolution
1. Companies can react far faster and more accurately to their flow of data than businesses that lack these modern capabilities.
2. Digitised documents allow to share, collaborate, exchange and access data in seconds, reducing the turnaround time and increasing the efficiency for the company.
3. It is eco-friendly. Digitising reduces paper printing costs to minimal levels. It eradicates the need of creating multiple backup copies and unnecessary printing.
4. Digitising offers a safe repository of data which can also be shared on the company’s cloud or the local document management system.
5. Digitised information can be easily accessed through the cloud or system using any device that has internet, anywhere or anytime.
6. Information stored in paper formats degrades further every time it is handled manually. Digitising ensures that someone’s business’s most important data is saved and preserved for the future.
The cons of digitisation
1. Given the facility of the digital platform to store large amounts of information, information sharing and privacy have become a common concern for average users.
2. Due to the nature of online transactions, the digital revolution makes easier for impostors to mislead unwary individuals into disclosing their finances or relevant personal information.
3. It makes easier for infringers to collect substantial personal information that can be used for deceitful purposes without the user’s knowledge.
4. The facility to illegally reproduce and distribute protected original works has dramatically affected businesses’ intellectual property –such as copyrights and trademarks.
5. Digitising documents can take a long time since it requires a lot of physical labour to scan each item and label all new digital files.
6. Its measurable Return-On-Investment (ROI) will depend on successful implementation and usage.
Potential debating topics
1. Companies should have the moral obligation to instruct the disadvantaged communities on information technology and computer literacy.
2. Social media has become the Number One activity on the Web.
4. Facebook’s 1 billion members make it the third largest nation in the world (behind China and India).
6. One in five divorces is blamed on Facebook.
7. Students are losing basic knowledge and reading skills because of their use of technology.
8. Certain educational technologies are too expensive for less fortunate people to afford access to.
9. There are valid concerns about the loss of interpersonal and cooperation skills that students usually develop within a classroom setting.
11. Machines will soon destroy us, serve us, or replace us.
12. Machine automation and artificial intelligence (AI) could displace up to 30 per cent of workers worldwide by 2030.
13. The risk of being displaced by smart machines will greatly increase for workers with less education.
14. Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics is perhaps the single greatest threat that faces humanity in the near future.
15. Millennials are 60% more likely to produce and share online content than non-millennials.
16. Generation X —and not millennials— is changing the nature of work.
The world is going digital, but many businesses are unprepared. Digital revolution is not an easy or short-term undertaking. Change is being demanded by market forces, but many businesses have encountered obstacles along the path to digital transformation. However, to ensure that they can operate effectively in our modern world, digital transformation is just as important for small businesses as is it for large organisations.