I believe in the power of automation. It is the technology that haunts us, pursuing to transform the work of our hands and leaving behind a dwindling majority of anyone who refuses to come along. We have witnessed it develop and eat into the African economy, in the various professions and every sphere of our working lives.
While I believe the popular projection of people losing their jobs to automation in 2030 can only be the fears of the developed world, it is possible that Africa needs only a few years added to 2030 to begin having same fears. There is no doubt that advances in Information Technology in recent years have led to a wide range of Information Systems that organizations, institutions and individuals in Africa are now using to increase productivity in various fields.
These systems have been developed from scratch or purchased for specific purposes and differ significantly from the manual ways of doing things. My brooding over this subject began a few months ago in relation to my own career as a Records & Information Manager. However, being a career counsellor as a hobby with a book titled “Choosing your Career Path” to my credit, I felt it necessary to dive deep into the subject with every field of a profession in view.
Preparing against the risk of a Jobless future
While there is no need to panic for the fast-growing nature of technology in recent years it, however, beholds on us to be aware that sooner or later, we are all likely to lose our jobs to automation or at least have our various tasks performed in different ways. Hence the need to be knowledgeable about the impact emerging technologies can have on your specific area of work in order to strategize for the upcoming years. This article aims to awaken us to look at how the workplace and jobs might be shaped over the coming years in Africa and what you can do to prevent a job loss.
At the base of every successful organization is the ability for employees to have information readily available when needed to perform specific tasks and the ability to satisfy the needs of clients/customers. This satisfaction ranges from improved service delivery, quality products, cost-effectiveness and most of all excellent customer service. Most human beings are getting lazy as the years progresses and all they need is an organization, institution or individual who have the technologies to make their lives a lot easier.
Unfortunately, the popular business adage that ‘the customer is always right” has not sunk well into the minds of many service providers and most people are feeling more comfortable dealing with machines than with human beings. It becomes necessary that the proper information about the future of jobs be brought to the knowledge of all who are interested in the future of their businesses, positions and jobs especially those who are leaving a legacy of great companies and organizations worth billions of dollars to their next of kings.
At the beginning of the 19th century, there were no paved roads, railways or electricity. Utility, goods, services and people used horsepower or they walked for the generation of power. In 1814, George Stevenson invented the steam locomotive which meant that railways came into being and people could easily move from place to place. Which jobs do you think were lost? Horse owners who used their horses for business lost their jobs.
I also assume those who had trained well to carry lots of items over long distances also lost their jobs. That century probably saw many people rushing to take trains. I mean who would want to walk for 5 miles or hit horseback throughout a journey instead of sitting comfortably and getting to your destination in a few minutes. A lot has happened in this industry till date. Now we all want to fly!
Again, before Camera Obscura (14th Century) and eventually photography was invented in the 1820s, it had its root from antiquity. Human beings did a lot of paintings and drawings on walls, caves, tree bark among others to tell beautiful stories and to preserve memories. The work of Artist slowly died to photography until drawing and painting became a specialized art admired by a few. Looking at the rate at which phones with high-quality cameras are emerging as well as hundreds of ‘Apps’ that is able to transform an image into whatever theme and drawing with the possibility of printing them to frame, the future of Artist, Painters, and Still Photographers are uncertain.
There is a history for every field of work and for the about 6000 years the world has existed, people have developed technology to make life easier. But each new technology came at a cost and affected various tasks and jobs at the time. But a critical look at things will reveal that it did not destroy but enhanced these jobs.
In Africa today, it is not scarce to find a University graduate. Everyone seems to be awakening to the importance of education. But the question still remains if our educational system is effective enough to prepare the upcoming generation for what is really coming? The innovations trooping in from outside of Africa reveals that those who are preparing for the career future of Africa are not Africans, so what are you doing about it? Let’s wake up and explore our innovative abilities.