Information Revolution: The Era of Entrepreneurship
Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Two centuries ago, the world witnessed the turning point of one of the most significant events in human history: the Industrial Revolution. Cities became urbanized. Monumental buildings began to rise as the steel industry flourished. Steam engines were invented that brought about modern transportation and factories. From small-scale manufacturing, we began to mass-produce goods to meet the demands of the burgeoning economy.
As a result, there was a huge demand for a growing labor force. Governments saw the need of building schools to support the continuous production of workers. Employment became the conventional path to make a living. In 1881, the concept of social security was introduced in Germany to incentivize workers to continuously work until old age.
This promoted the idea that citizens should study hard and work hard. This belief became deeply rooted in Western culture, which has then spread to other parts of the world and passed on from generation to generation. However, as we enter the next stage of human evolution, holding on to this outdated belief becomes a problem.
The Dawn of A New Age
As economies evolved, we began to shift from industrialization to an economy based on information technology. The demand for blue-collar jobs that massively exploded in the Industrial Age began to decline. Technological advancements in the growing information-rich economy were introduced, reducing the demand for basic labor jobs while increasing the demand for white-collar jobs.
The advent of the World Wide Web revolutionized the way we communicate and do business. For one, it broke the barrier of time and distance, allowing humans to communicate across the globe in real time. This allowed businesses to operate on a scale never seen before, enabling them to extend their influence to a wider market.
In the process, one of the biggest industries we know today emerged – business process outsourcing (BPO) as the power of the Internet and the decreasing cost of technological infrastructure enabled businesses to employ cheaper labor from overseas.
For countries where businesses commonly outsource their labor, BPO leaves a positive economic impact by providing job opportunities. In the Philippines, the BPO industry began in 1992. Thereafter, job opportunities steadily increased year after year as foreign companies expanded their workforce. After two decades, the Philippines has become one of the leading destinations of outsourcing companies. The growth plateaued in 2016 when crisis loomed over the industry.
The Decline of Stable Jobs
One of the factors that threaten the stability of the BPO industry is the rise of automation. As more and more job functions become automated, the risk that less-skilled workers would be displaced increases. The rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning poses a real threat to traditional professions with repetitive, mechanical functions, which can be performed using software applications.
In fact, there are certain machines now that perform jobs characterized by repetitive and simple tasks. As technology evolves, AI and robots may even supersede professions that require more skills. Even creative careers such as copywriting and graphic design will not be spared by automation. There are now web-based applications and software that can instantly generate marketing copy and designs.
In 2017, the food industry started to employ robots. A special bar in Las Vegas introduced a robot bartender, whose pair of robotic arms can mix drinks from 120 bottles and prepare 100 drinks in an hour without having to take a break.
Technology is constantly evolving and as with any great invention, it dramatically transforms our lives. As new professions are created to support and utilize these new innovations, more professions run the risk of becoming obsolete in the process.
Take data science for example. Data science is an emerging field of study that draws from different disciplines such as statistics and information technology. It involves the methods and techniques by which humans make sense of the huge amount of data harvested from online platforms, such as users’ behavior and search preferences. Data science makes use of AI and machine learning to accomplish this task.
Data scientists are responsible for analyzing and interpreting a massive amount of data in order to provide precise solutions or achieve specific business needs. A data scientist possesses a wide set of skills in their arsenal, including programming, analytical skills, a background in mathematics and statistics, as well as industry and domain knowledge.
The increasing demand for professionals in this discipline may pose a threat to other jobs, such as accountants, business analysts, or actuarial scientists. These professionals would have to upgrade their skills and learn data analysis and other skills to remain competitive. After all, the key to remaining valuable in the talent market is to continuously upgrade one’s skill set to meet the demands of the changing business landscape.
The Rules of the Information Age
The Information Age has brought accelerating change that transcends the whole globe. Technology is consuming jobs faster than it is creating them, resulting in an oversupply of professional talent. Furthermore, workers have become an expendable resource. Retrenchment has become commonplace among businesses that want to survive the tight competition or to acquire more market shares. Hence, choosing employment as your primary vehicle for the long term may not be a wise option.
It’s about time we unlearn the old ways: study hard, get good grades so you can find a secure and stable job. The Industrial Age is over, and so we should lay to rest the ideas and mindset we used to live with during that era.
For centuries, we have survived from recession to recession, adapting from changes to changes. In the midst of an overwhelming adversity, our instinct to be creative and solution-oriented kicks in. That’s why in this generation in which job security no longer exists, becoming an entrepreneur is the best option to choose.
Most successful companies we know today had been founded during an economic decline. Entrepreneurs don’t wait for opportunities or the perfect economic conditions. In fact, they are the ones who create the perfect opportunity.
Remember the unconventional vehicles I discussed in my previous blog posts? In my next blog post, I will reveal the best vehicle in the third part of the series. This vehicle perfectly fits our generation, as it takes advantage of the latest technological innovation to help us build and expand our business at an exponential scale. For as long as humans exist, this business model will be relevant.
The turn of the millennium marks the beginning of the greatest wave of human progression. The rules we have known for two centuries have already changed. We can choose to follow and live by the rules of the old world, or we can choose to adapt and ride the wave towards the next revolution.