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Technology Proposes and Man Disposes




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When Singapore did away with bus conductors in the late 1970s, there understandably were murmurings. First up, laid-off bus conductors wondered what else they could do, of not being to have the job they have had for most of their lives? For commuters, it meant a tad degree of inconvenience as it always meant having a ready amount of loose and small change, which happening as it did then, did cost them dearly for most did not have the required amount of coins for their commute.

Now it is back to the future for that is what the reckoningis!

Quite unsurprisingly big data is ‘radicalising’ not just our lives but also the lives of peoples’ across the world.

Big data, embedded artificial intelligence (AI), smart robotics, cognitive computing, nanotechnology, 3D printing, biotech and virtual offices are but a few examples of the kind of technological inroads that have been busily recasting our lives.

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Will we arrive at a day when robots would administer syringes and medications in hospitals and in pharmacies? Or would a day come when arising out of the drones we now see, lend something of an innovative impetus to develop pilotless airplanes?

Technology undoubtedly is worrisome and just by looking at the surge in global population there is indeed cause for considerable hand-wringing. The problem is lent more acute by the fact that not all schools in Singapore have taken cognizance of this ‘grim’ fact to customize their school curricula to the new age that is before all and sundry.

But in all fairness Singapore was one of the first few nations to introduce AI into its schools but the key question is what the technological surprises of the next few years maybe; granted the rapid clip with which technology changes

Singapore’s sterling track record in science and technology and well connected population is a tribute. But the pressing question for small business is if one’s business has an eye on the future?

Yet the new tide of change – some of which is frightening – does not just stop with a quick eye for details and the scope for change.

Technological innovations have always been a disruptive force in more ways than one. Remember the time when the motor car was invented and how it quickly displaced horse-drawn carriages.

Partly because of disruptive innovation, the average job tenure for the CEO of a Fortune 500 company has halved from ten years in 2000 to less than five years today. And there is no better reason to underscore the cascade of change than what the pace of change will be? Needless to say, today’s pace of technological breakthroughs is frenetic. As computer power increases and more things are attached to the internet its disruptive influence only finds new realms. According to The Economist Google promises to reinvent cars as autonomous vehicles; Amazon promises to reinvent shopping (again) using drones; 3D printing could disrupt manufacturing. But perhaps the most surprising disruptive innovations will come from bottom-of-the-pyramid entrepreneurs who are inventing new ways of delivering education and health-care for a fraction of the cost of current market leaders.

Maybe the best way to see the future is to invent it and that just seems to be what Man is disposing over what technology is proposing

Unless one hews closer than ever to what technology is motioning; be prepared to be unemployed when the future calls on you.

Those are grim facts and if one needs a second opinion, suss out the bus conductors who were laid off in the 1970s.


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