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Will a robot take your job?

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Many of today’s jobs are losing relevance due to advances in technology. This makes it challenging for anyone starting a new career, writes ANGELA SCHAERER – Teacher Engagement Lead for Microsoft South Africa.

With many of today’s jobs beginning to lose relevance in a world increasingly dominated by new technologies, the challenge facing anyone at the beginning of their career is studying something that will match the demand for jobs of the future, while developing the skills necessary to succeed in the modern workplace.

Sixty-five percent of current students will end up in jobs that have not even been invented yet. This also means that people already employed in jobs need to start thinking about how they are going to make a living in the next 10 to 20 years. Technologies like robotics and artificial intelligence, which are able to perform high-level, cognitively complicated tasks, may render certain jobs obsolete. Replacing human workers with technology is simply more productive and efficient.

However, it’s not all bad news, and it’s important to remember that the fourth industrial revolution is not going to be possible without the human minds that set it in motion in the first place. Analysts predict that there will be a surge in job opportunities for software developers, data analysts and digital architects, as well as jobs that require creativity, ingenuity and innovative thinking.

In a story for Slate Magazine, our global CEO Satya Nadella said: “It’s not going to be about human vs. machine. We humans have creativity, empathy, emotion, physicality, and insight that can be mixed with powerful A.I. computation—the ability to reason over large amounts of data and do pattern recognition more quickly—to help move society forward.”

Therefore, jobs that are either for highly creative professions that can’t be automated, or professions in computer, science and mathematical related fields as well as architecture and engineering, which combine art and science, are the most likely to grow.

Develop the right skills for the job

There are five essential skills you should develop to be successful in the modern workplace known as the five Cs. They are communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and computational thinking. You need to focus on problem solving and a certain way of thinking and operating, rather than only developing technical skills such as mastering a specific coding language or software. With technology advancing so quickly, it’s vital that young people learn to be agile and embrace change. These skills are essential for work in the 21st century and need to be instilled in young people at school level.

“Humans need not apply”

The best piece of advice for future job-seekers is to stay away from jobs that are in danger of becoming obsolete. Nadella asserts that there are certain “musts” humans need to remain relevant—particularly when it comes to thinking clearly about the skills future generations must prioritize. In order to make it in the future world of work students will need:

Empathy – Empathy is so difficult to replicate in machines. It will be valuable in the human–A.I. world. Perceiving others’ thoughts and feelings, collaborating and building relationships will be critical.

Education – We will need increased investment in education to attain higher level thinking and develop the knowledge and skills needed to implement new technologies on a large scale.

Creativity – Creativity is one of the most coveted human skills. Machines will continue to enrich and augment our creativity.

Judgment and accountability – We may be willing to accept a computer-generated diagnosis or legal decision, but we will still expect a human to be ultimately accountable for the outcomes.

Of course nobody can predict the future, the best approach would be to constantly stay abreast of new developments by upskilling yourself to remain relevant, being flexible and adaptable to change, and staying away from jobs and industries that are in danger of becoming null and void as a result of technology.

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Epic Games brings a
Nite-mare to Android

Epic Games’ decision to not publish games through Google Play inadvertently opens a market to Android virus makers, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, decided to take the high road by skipping Google Play’s app distribution market and placing a third-party installer for its games on its website. While this is technically fine, it is not recommended for the average user, because allowing third-party installers on one’s smartphone opens up the possibility of non-signed and malicious software to be run on the smartphone. 

In June, malware researchers at ESET warned Android gamers that malicious fake versions of the Fortnite app had been created to steal personal information or damage smartphones. A malware researcher demonstrated how the fake applications works in the Tweet below.

While the decision to bypass Google Play was a bold move on Epic Games’ part, it has been a long time coming for app developers to move their premium apps off Google’s Play Store. The two major app distributors, Google Play and Apple’s App Store, take a 30% cut of every purchase made through their app distribution platforms. 

The App Store is currently the only way to get apps on a non-modified iOS device, which is why Epic Games had no choice for Fortnite to be in the App Store. On the other hand, Android phones can install packages downloaded through the browser, which makes the Play Store almost unnecessary for the gaming company. 

The most interesting part of this development is that Google is not the “bad guy” and Epic Games is no saviour to other game developers. Epic Games is a company with a multi-billion dollar valuation and has resources like large-scale servers to distribute and update its games, a big marketing budget to ensure everyone knows how to get its games, and server security to protect against malware. 

Resources of this scale allow the game company to turn a cold shoulder to Google’s Play Store distribution and focus on its own, in-house solution. 

That said, installing packages without the Google Play Store must be done carefully, and it is essential to do homework on where a package is downloaded. Moreover, when a package is installed outside of the Google Play Store, a security switch to block the installation of third party apps must be turned off. This switch should be turned back on immediately after the third party package is installed. 

This complex amount of steps makes it less worthwhile to install third party apps, in favour of rather waiting for them to reach the Play Store.

From a consumer perspective, ESET recommends not installing packages outside of the Google Play Store and to ignore advertisements to download the game from other sources.

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How to take on IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming, whether you like it or not and organisations today will look to platforms and services that help them manage and analyse the streams of data coming from connected devices, says RONALD RAVEL, Director B2B South Africa, Toshiba South Africa.

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Today, we are witnessing an explosion in IoT deployments and solutions and are moving towards a world where almost everything you can imagine will be connected. While this opens the door to many possibilities it also comes with its own challenges such as privacy and security.

The Internet has become an integral part of everyday life; it has been a free for all on a daily basis. IoT is a difficult concept for many people to wrap their minds around. Essentially, nearly every business will be affected.

Managing vast quantities of data across increasingly mobile workforces can be tremendously beneficial if done well, but equally can be cumbersome and ineffective if not managed properly. This is why technologies such as mobile edge computing are becoming increasingly popular, helping to increase the prevalence of secure mobile working and data management in the age of IoT.

Unlocking IoT

The evolution of IoT, despite rapid and ongoing technological innovation, is still very much in its fledgling stages. Its potential, though, is demonstrated by the fact that by 2020, Bain anticipates a significant shift in uptake, with roughly 80 per cent of adoptions at that point to have progressed to the stage of either ‘proof of concept’ or extensive implementation. This means that technological innovation in IoT for the enterprise is progressing at a similarly fast rate with many of these solutions being developed with utilities, engineering, manufacturing and logistics companies in mind.

Processing at the edge

For IoT to be adopted at the rate predicted, technology which does not overwhelm current or even legacy systems must be implemented. Mobile edge computing solves this. Such solutions offer processing power at the edge of the network, helping firms with a high proportion of mobile workers to reduce operational strain and latency by processing the most critical data at the edge and close to its originating source. Relevant data can then be sent to the cloud for observation and analysis, thereby reducing the waves of ‘data garbage’ which has to be processed by cloud services.

A logistics manager can feasibly monitor and analyse the efficiency of warehouse operations, for example, with important data calculations carried out in real-time, on location, and key data findings then sent to the cloud for centrally-located data scientists to analyse.

The work of wearables

The potential of IoT means it not only has the scope to change the way people work, but also where they work. While widespread mobile working is a relatively new trend in industries such as banking and professional services, for CIOs in sectors where working on the move is inherent – such as logistics and field maintenance – mobility is high on the agenda.

Wearables – and specifically smart glasses – have started to gain traction within the business world. With mobile edge computing solutions acting as the gateway, smart glasses such as Toshiba’s assisted reality AR 100 viewer solution have been designed to benefit frontline and field-based workers in industries such as utilities, manufacturing and logistics. In the renewable energy sector, for example, a wind turbine engineer conducting repairs may use assisted reality smart glasses to call up the schematics of the turbine to enable a hands-free view of service procedures. This means that when a fault becomes a barrier to repair, the engineer is able to use collaboration software to call for assistance from a remote expert and have additional information sent through, thereby saving time and money by eradicating the need for extra personnel to be sent to the site.

The time is ripe for organisations to look to exploit the age of IoT to improve the productivity and safety of their workers, as well as the end service delivered to customers. In fact, Toshiba’s recent ‘Maximising Mobility’ report found that 49 per cent of organisations believe their sector can benefit from the hands-free functionality of smart glasses, while 47 per cent expect them to deliver improved mobile working and 41 per cent foresee better collaboration and information sharing. Embracing IoT technologies such as mobile edge computing and wearable solutions will be an essential step for many organisations within these verticals as they look to stay on top of 21st century working challenges.

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