Will Technology Make the ‘Human Factor’ Obsolete?
I read with amazement about the tremendous advances that are being made, it seems, every day. I marvel at each new improvement that increases the speed at which business today is being done.
Look around you. When the computers go down, the world comes to a standstill. You can’t buy groceries, can’t do your banking, and utility services shut down. You can’t even fly a plane to get away from it.
I often wonder where these advances are leading us. Will we live longer or more happily if we sit back leisurely and allow the computers to run everything? Maybe.
In our own industry today, you can just about do without most of the people in your company if you’ve fully embraced the leading edge of technology. In a lot of areas of your business, employees are no longer needed. Computers do the work faster and more economically. (Although I personally question whether they truly are more cost-efficient than human beings.)
Do you realize that — if not today, sometime in the very near future — you could well operate a manufacturing facility, distribution firm or even a retail operation from the middle of the Mojave desert? You’d never have to see your suppliers, customers or employees.
You could operate any of these industry product channels via the Internet. No more salespeople would be needed. Simply let the computers do the work.
In truth, there are at least a few people who would still be needed. First, you would have to have someone transport the product to customers — unless, of course, you could get Scotty from “Star Trek” to simply beam it to them. Who knows, in the future even that may be possible!
The one group that I see as being immune to technology-driven replacement consists of floor installers. They are, and probably will remain, the one link that keeps at least some of the human factor in our business.
So it would seem that, in the future, you have a choice: you either learn everything you can about running a business through use of a computer and the Internet, or you learn how to install floor coverings. Regardless of which you choose, a great deal of training and education will be required to make you professional and successful in either vocation.
I’d say that, in the future, you’d better be professional if you expect to succeed in life. And that may very well require that you become highly skilled with computers and the Internet. I, for one, am going to miss the human factor that was such a key facet in the way business was done throughout my career.