My job prior to Bellyflop was a Producer / Director making broadcast TV. Mainly entertainment, reality, and lifestyle programmes. I had a theory that by around now all television would be on demand and we would not have TV schedules. I suspected the kind of shows I was making would not be in demand and we would just select what we wanted to watch like we do on Netflix, and I would potentially struggle for work.
So, it’s not yet the case, but I believe we are not far away from television all being on demand (it’s started already with BBC3 going online, and CBBC moving more of their public spending into online content- both channels adapting to their younger viewers trends).
The above image is from a TechCrunch article about the automated economy.
This is all part of the communication (along with an energy) revolution. The way we produce energy; green /renewable, and the way we communicate with the internet, has resulted in the world changing in a way that we can’t quite picture how it will be in around 20 or 30 years. Just like how it was in the previous three revolutions.
The term given to entire professions being completed by computers is the ‘automated economy’. More can be read in this Guardian article here, where it suggests up to 47% of jobs in the US will be automated by 2050.
So, the 4th Revolution. Lets take our heads out of the sand, stop focussing on our retirement date hoping nothing changes before then, and get real. The way we do business is changing- drastically and quickly.
- We are cutting out the ‘middleman’: It’s now easier for a buyer to connect directly with a supplier. It started years ago with Ebay, more recently Moonpig. Very recently with AirBnB. One of the videos we made recently is an app that automatically delivers to a maintenance depot all the kit they had to order and collect previously from places like Travis Perkins. They are being supplied directly from the manufacturers.
- Various industries will drastically change once legislation permits and insists on details and information to be inputted online– and the impact will be sudden. When automated accountancy software is accepted by HMRC this will have a massive change on the accountancy profession. It’s already happened with the Post offices no longer processing car tax. That was an overnight change.
- Technology is getting smarter: There is a bluetooth headset that translates foreign language speech in real time, so you can have a conversation with someone who speaks another language (provided they also have the same headset). So not just accountants as explained above, but translators, book keepers, solicitors are all jobs that are predicted to be reduced in demand in the future. Only the strong will survive (luckily lots of our business contacts are strong enough).
Some businesses have already aimed to address the issues that new technology is bringing, and quite a few traditional printing companies I know have diversified into other areas as consumer demand changes (as companies like ‘Vistaprint‘ change the pricing structure). For those of us who are business owners we have to consider how our livelihoods can live on for the next generation and ‘future proof’ what we do.
The author of this article is Jonathan Robinson, founder of bellyflop.tv.