ILP 0010: Are You Prepared For Whats Coming?
When I lost my job in 2015, I learned a simple but profound lesson. Life happens. Industries get disrupted and companies change their minds. An imminent disruption is here in Canada even though it does not seem obvious. How prepared are you? Will it be your apocalypse or your biggest opportunity?
I wrote that in 2015. Do you like it?
Back to the new job. I had an amazing time on the new role, had the opportunity to add a lot of value to the clients I was working with and learned a great deal. Then the recession which had started creeping up on Calgary caught up with my organization. Fast forward six months down the line, I lost my job. It was exactly on Sept 30, my wife’s birthday! How cool was that? I remember being called into a room with all the typical resources that form a new project team – just the way we used to tackle a new project in that organization – we had a Project Manager, Business Analysts, architects, developers, testers, quality assurance folks etc. Then the grim words came out “Thank you for showing up at such a short notice and sincerely, I wish this was good news but sadly, it is not. The company appreciates your services and contribution, but it is unfortunate we no longer require your services effective immediately.” The silence and shock that filled that room was as thick as it could possibly be. We all glanced at each other’s faces and then looked on the floor. I smiled although I think I was just living in self denial on that day. One of us finally eased the tension with a groaning remark, “Ah!”
The rest they say is history.
I woke up in the morning of October 1st to see my own poem looking at me from the wall of my bedroom. I seemed to hear something say to me – heed your own advice. Lol! I smiled then got angry. Then I calmed down. It was the first time I lost my job in fifteen years. I had never known rejection from any hiring company. But it happened to me. Could that have been you?
And that leads me to today’s topic. I really want to sensitize us to a new world order that will be created by an increased adoption and investment in artificial intelligence, automation, and block chain here in Canada.
Forward-looking organizations and entrepreneurs are already investing in AI and blockchain-driven systems. I’ll share just one example. Ashik Karim, founded Chainlinks Lab in Feb 2018 and by July, Chainlinks Lab was acquired by AXS Blockchain Solutions for $4m! Now, Ashik has been appointed the CEO of the acquiring company. How cool is that? But that’s even beside the point. It’s the driving force behind the moves that we should take note of. Hear Ashik, “Today’s pace of technological change is both unpredictable as well as exponential. Blockchain impacts every individual, country, and organization in one way or another.”
Over the last two decades of my career, one key lesson that I have learned can be summarized through the words of Walter, the father of ice hockey. He is known to always instruct his kids, “skate to where the puck is going not where it has been”. I suspect that the disruption that AI, automation and blockchain are going to cause will be second to none since the advent of the Internet. And maybe I am wrong, but time will tell.
Thomas F Dapp, a research analyst, at Deutsche Bank said and I quote, “Blockchain is a really disruptive development, and banks have a lot of fear concerning this technology because in the pure theory of blockchain, a lot of processes within a traditional bank would be obsolete”. What does that mean for you and I?
I foresee that artificial intelligence and automation will disrupt the systems of a lot of countries especially the developed nations – and Canada will not be an exemption. It is almost inevitable that a lot of low and middle-class jobs will be wiped out. If you doubt me, hear what President Obama had to say in his January 2017 final address to the people of the United States: “the next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good, middle-class jobs obsolete.” And that’s it. This is going to touch almost every industry, job, career and even businesses! We are not talking about low income jobs, we are talking about well paying middle class careers and businesses. It’s going to impact everyone including you! Yeah. I am certain that even certain jobs that are considered future-proof will be wiped out. How do I know? Because it has happened before, its just history repeating itself and it amazes me how a lot of people appear unaware of the ongoing change and the upcoming disruption.
If you think Obama’s mention of that was just a co-incidence, you are wrong. In October 2016, the White House released a 58-page report titled “Preparing for the Future of Artificial Intelligence, and by December of the same year, they released another 55-page report called “Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and the Economy.” I encourage you to read those reports.
In fact, when I graduated from Royal Roads University, British Columbia on June 12 this year, I remember that the core message which I took away from the key note speaker was that many of us in our graduation gowns on that day will retire from jobs and organizations that do not exist today. We were therefore advised to be sensitive, flexible and forward looking. You know what occurred to me based on what I heard? It means many people in School today will be earning certificates and degrees in careers that will not be useful by the time they step into the real world. Yet they would have ramped up thousands of dollars in student loan debts towards the same education. Isn’t that even happening already?
In summary, to the unprepared, AI, blockchain and automation will be an apocalypse but to that ready immigrant, it will be the biggest opportunity of a lifetime. Isn’t it therefore the right time we educate and re-train ourselves for the opportunities and jobs of the future?
Let me know what you think. Share your feedback on this topic on our facebook page, facebook.com/immigrantlifeCA or simply comment below!
Talk to you next week and thanks for listening!
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