What was alluded to in light discussion as recently as eighteen months ago has become harsh reality. AI and robotics have come of age and predictions are that somewhere between 25% and 40% of the corporate workforce will be made redundant as a consequence, over the next three years. This redundancy will target all ages and all levels within multiple organizations and industries. Compounding this will be the significant move towards online purchasing and the threatened redundancy of large retail stores.
In real terms we are witnessing a new Industrial Revolution which just happened to exclude humanity. Obsolescence now looms large for the ‘middlemen’ – the stock brokers, travel agents, estate agents and realtors, analysts (except those right at the top of the pile) and hands-on manufacturers. Soon to face obsolescence are the drivers of all nature of vehicles as well as a not too insignificant proportion of the education and healthcare industries.
The knock on effect of this loss of economically active people will further impact in a very negative way upon the greater economy – locally and globally. With this descent into survival mode there is an accompanying descent into hopeless-helplessness and the illnesses, both emotional and physical, that surely follow. And so we note with alarm, the increases in suicide rates in many parts of the world. Accompanying the wretchedness of this mind state has been the need for mind-numbing drugs in a desperate attempt to shut out the pain and squeeze out just a little bit of dopamine-mediated gratification.
Humanity has arrived at yet another nodal point in our evolution. We have successfully multiplied, pillaged our natural environments and painted ourselves out of the picture of existence. Unfortunately there will be much more pain and suffering and probably a lot of dying. We know only too well that when socio-economic conditions breach that threshold line, wars inevitably follow.
And so thoughts turn to how best to survive, and better still, to transcend and thrive. I would propose that we have moved beyond ‘branding’, whether it is applied to the individual or to a product. We have arrived at the ‘blended’ human being! As in a good coffee or whisky blend, there are authentic components which together create an offering of value. By its very nature, the blend is more than the sum of its parts. The value contribution of the blend is to fulfill a need, a desire and in this way enhance the qualities of the recipients and indeed, of the environment itself.
I would suggest that we all need to self-reflect and identify our essence in terms of talents, skills, gratifying activities and so on and thereby create our unique blend. This should be a value contribution to ourselves, to others and to the extended environment. This takes hard work and courage, but if the blend is authentic the rewards will follow.
When all is said and done, human beings are social animals right down to their biochemistry. This flesh and blood requires to be part of a bigger community. Not a community of robots and LED screens, but a community of humans who have sensitivity and empathy ingrained in the depths of their cerebral cortices. It is a fact of life that many situations suppress our sensitivities and the ability to bond. But I have taken heart from personal experiences where I have witnessed callousness and insensitivities evaporate in a moment of need.
My belief is that we will not only prevail and transcend the pain, but we will individually and collectively evolve, re-connect with our human heritage and ultimately thrive. The very destructiveness of the impersonalization of mankind will drive us to re-discover our essence and create our value-contributing blends. The hulking, soul-destroying megaliths of business and politics will give birth to a new entrepreneurial spirit in the form of small contractors and service providers with heart and soul and with respect for the collective and the extended environment.
Copyright reserved – Ian Weinberg 2017