"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -- Alan Kay, Apple Computer
Greetings! It is a Sunday morning pregnant with spring here in Atlanta where I am spending the next several weeks. To write this column, I am accessing my home computer in the California eastern Sierra after reading a thought-stimulating piece focused on India by a New York Times columnist. These are fascinating times we live in ... a time approaching what Ray Kurzweil calls "the singularity" when human intelligence merges with machine intelligence. But, the issue isn’t new technology or even understanding how to use all the new gadgets that surround us, it’s really about knowing that there is a new game going on. And, the prime requisite of the game is innovative thinking.
Are you reinventing yourself?
One of the hottest topics in our current election season is jobs and the outsourcing of jobs overseas. Out of curiosity, I googled "programmers in India" and the search yielded over 245,000 entries. It’s common knowledge that thousands of jobs are being outsourced to countries such as India ... programmers, call centers, even our American tax returns are being done in countries many of us can barely find on a map. Political hay is being made out of whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. For some of us, it’s a good
thing as we get to buy more stuff at lower prices. For some of us, it’s a bad thing because we no longer have a job and the income to buy anything.
The bottom line is that these results are a natural outcome of the system we have created. We may not like some of the results but our business system is set up to create exactly this situation. We reward businesses for making profit and businesses make more profit by reducing costs. If sending programming or call centers to India reduces costs, that’s what businesses are going to do. We can moan and groan ... or we can recognize it as a demand for a new way of thinking.
If there is a mantra for the time we live in, it could be the following: Every skill I have today will be obsolete tomorrow. I think this might even be a new version of Moore’s law. Moore stated that the data density of computer chips would continue to double every eighteen month ... our new law posits that we have to double our learning and productivity every eighteen months.
So the question for this week is how are you reinventing yourself and redoubling your productivity? Add your comments below.
The column that prompted this train of thinking is by Thomas Friedman and you can find it at New York Times Online. You have to set up a membership but it's free.