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Are We Disrupting Ourselves Out of Jobs?

- August 20, 2015 - 15 Comments

Much has been published in the industry about how automation will result in job loss e.g. the book, The Second Machine Age, as an example.

Further, the question is obvious as to whether or not the skills you have today will be relevant tomorrow?

Women at work
Such discussions have been occurring for the past several years since the financial crisis of 2008; and the question now pondered by enterprises and governments is :

  1. How do we grow the middle class?
  2. How do we provide skills to under-served communities?


Quite a bit of these threads are discussed in the Innovation for Jobs forum. Cisco is well on its way in structuring skills training via our Certification Program and via Network Academy.

Now, 40% of the world’s population is connected to the Internet today. We can expect another 3 billion to be connected within the next 3-5 years from countries other than North America and Europe. This fact has implications to what we develop and for whom — think carefully here.

So a few questions to ponder, as change is exponential [perhaps it has always been so]:

1. How could you use technology to create more jobs than you would lose them?
2. What kinds of Internet enabling solutions could you envisage for Africa, India, Middle East, as examples?
3. What will disrupt YOU and how do YOU intend to respond?

If companies don’t adapt in this upcoming information age, they will be left behind. Can the same be said for people?

As greater innovation drives further automation, are we disrupting ourselves out of jobs?

The answer to the question above is yes, which means we must approach our careers with the same innovation and creativity that we apply to our work.

Lifelong learning and re-invention will be the keys to staying innovative and disruptive in the work we do and in our careers.

Intercloud, security, and IoE are all areas that present massive opportunity for re-invention and innovation. The need for enhanced security is real – the estimated annual cost of cybercrime to the global economy ranges from $375 billion to as much as $575 billion. By 2020, it has been predicted that an estimated 50 billion devices and objects will be connected to the Internet. Those devices will be connected 24/7/365, providing ever-increasing value. The Internet of Everything isn’t about everything. It is about developing and delivering services capable of meeting new customer demands, and unlocking new sources of revenue in the process. There is a real opportunity here to marry innovation, economic growth, and job creation.

As a CTO and evangelist for new frontiers development and engineering, I can tell you that the future of technology is exciting. The new job creation driven by those new services, will, in turn, increasingly drive the need for continuous adaptation and reinvention.

In the words of Antoine De Saint-Éxupéry,

“As for the future, your task is not to foresee but to enable it.”

Will the skills you have today be relevant tomorrow? Are you willing to ponder the innovation challenges that will arise as billions of new adopters connect within the next 5 years?

Have questions or comments? Tweet Monique & @CiscoSP360 to learn more!

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15 Comments

  1. Thank you for this article Monique

  2. Great article Mon!.

    Great article - thought provoking! Definitely agree with the statement below: Lifelong learning and re-invention will be the keys to staying innovative and disruptive in the work we do and in our careers.

    You are very welcome i look forward to your next post

  3. Thank you Mo!

    Great article Monique

  4. We only have pieces of information at the moment to predict the skills for the future. I am not talking about 1-3 years from now on but 5-10 years horizon. Being disruptive would mean in this case having rather a vision about the skills than really name them. One for sure is already a fundamental - adaptation, because the pace we change the World is unprecedented already. I am not so sure if we could even teach ourselves or others about this skill...

    • Perhaps the modality is in developing a T-Shaped profile that is deep in 1-2 areas and broad across.

  5. Additionally, as one colleague pointed out to me, with analytics, security,creative design thinking, universities have an opportunity to create classes to train people with these skill sets. Consequently,we destroy some jobs[may be replaced by robots] but add back some new jobs ( are not the workers displaced by the robots). I believe that the profile required for the 21st century will be T-shaped, that is deep in 1-2 areas and broad across disciplines. Being comfortable with exponential change and in some cases with ambiguity is our reality.

    As always, great article Monique! Within the last couple of years I myself have felt compelled to pick up some programming skills in Python, Matlab etc. again, get a bit more into Machine Learning and get certified courses from MITx on Big Data challenges. The business we are in, if we stop learning, its as good as being retired. As vlomue of traffic gets more and more colossal, analytics of large amount of low latency data and security of the same becomes mission-critical, we need to keep on learning and keep our skills up-to-dated. Automation, orchestration etc. have become very important far quicker than I would have thought even 1 year back. As far as my humble self is concerned, beating the challenge gives two-fold benefit: 1) growth in career prospects and 2) satisfaction of overcoming the challenge (read: ego) :-). Personally, I shall be ever grateful to YOU for giving me a free hand (and budget) in training myself early year 2000. The amount of courses I went to while you were my mentor and manager, had far reaching and deep impacts on my career, for however little that is worth. That showed me, hands on, the value of keeping myself updated to changing times and associated challenges. Hence, my lifelong gratitude, Monique. With Respects, very humbly yours santanu

    Nice article, Monique! Making me think...in a very good way!

    With every challenge is an opportunity, its all in how you see it. In Cisco we are ever changing, ever adapting and I am confident we can lead the world during this time of great change. Wonderful article Monique!!!

  6. Spot on and Professor Christensen would probably agree. Keep up the great work and thank you.

  7. Anoop - thank you! This has been our history right? Also an opportunity....

  8. Here's a relevant video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU