The common factor behind these incidences is that over the past 40 years, the computer and internet economy that replaced mental labor by humans, particularly digital technology, multi-dimensional digital terminals and internet sharing technologies, have caused the US economy and, in fact, the economic structures of many countries in the world to transform.
from this article
Costs of Globalization and Trade
There is so much to fear and not to fear at the same time in the new digital age.
With so much talk regarding how the world is entering into the 4th Industrial Revolution, Disruptive Technologies, AI, Automation, and the Digital Economy; it got me thinking how I have benefited from these technologies but at the same time; how it will affect me in a negative way.
Granted, as someone who regularly shops and surfs for the latest things online; the new digital age has been amazing. But while it has been fantastic for the consumer; I was thinking about how sucky it must be for the worker whose job was replaced by technology.
Let me give you an example:
I loved buying DVDs. In fact, I used to go to DVD shops. But at the same time, I hate going to the DVD shop Why? That is because I hate having to communicate with the store owner or the sales rep. I hate having to answer the question; “Can I help you to find what you are looking for?”
I love to browse and take my time browsing through the titles and looking at the DVD covers and reading the blurbs. I like the idea of just being lost in the moment of browsing. But at the same time, I will get tired after a while.
I used to shop at this particular DVD shop where I found out that they usually stock old movies. It was one of my favorite places to go; but at the same time, it wasn’t. That is because while the owner had a lot of old movies, he would usually get grumpy or irritated if I took too long to browse through his goods.
But my life changed when I knew about Amazon – way back in 2000. I made my first purchase; a DVD boxset of “The Godfather Trilogy”. It was amazing.
It was amazing because all I needed was a credit card; one click; shipping address; and boom….it was delivered to my house.
So, like many others, I started to buy not only DVDs but books and other stuff online….well..mostly from Amazon.
Later, I found out that the shop had closed down. To be honest, I did not really mourn for it. In fact, I just went on to shop online without a care in the world.
But over the years I realized that almost everyone began to ignore the typical brick and mortar shops and began shopping online. Now, I am no Luddite. In fact, I am a child of the internet. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram….etc etc
But recently, I began to notice more and more news about Digital Disruption, Disruptive Technologies., AI….. yada yada….
And then it occurred to me……
We are indeed living in an era where technological advances have really changed the way all of us communicate, share, receive, and shop.
But to the point; it also occurred to me that with these technologies; a lot of things are made easier and more convenient. Yet, it also meant that a lot of jobs will either be high tech skills jobs or low menial work.
We hear stories of university or college students working in cafes, or older workers retrenched and are unable to get back into the workforce.
And not to mention; in a globalized world; transnational corporations can choose where is the cheapest and cost-efficient countries to base their operations; which means that jobs go to workers who can afford lower wages and benefits.
Now, I am not going to play the blame game of “globalization is bad” or “corporations are evil”. Rather it is just simple logic. Any businessman wants to maximize their profits. And globalization has benefited a large segment of society regardless of nationalities and countries.
So what I am saying is that; we cannot change or undo technological inventions, we can’t say that we need to keep what are basically obsolete and unproductive jobs in the face of newer technologies (like the DVD shop); or that we must undo globalization; or even fear the onset of technological advances.
Because it is precisely of the Internet that we can get online shopping; or for that matter that someone invented digital photography that we can take crappy photos on our phone (which incidentally killed Kodak); or that globalization sucks cos that would mean living in a closed world with firm borders and narrow self-interests instead of you and me being able to communicate through WordPress and sharing our ideas and thoughts.
I guess what I am really trying to say is that there is fear; fear of change; fear of having to upgrade my skills; fear of someone from another country taking my job; fear in general.
But at the same time, I fear not having the Internet, not being able to Travel; or able to see what new inventions can better my life; or not.
I fear to live in a world that goes back to the dark ages of no wireless connections and digital photographs. But most of all, I fear not being able to buy movies with one click at Amazon.