Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Getting used to the new normal?

Over the past couple of weeks the BBC has reported on several businesses that have closed down in Europe. For example the department store Vroom & Dreesmann that was founded more than 100 years ago in the Netherlands declared it was bankrupt in December 2015 and closed its stores 2 weeks ago. Earlier this week I was reading that Dixons has also announced it is closing its shops. In fact according to the BBC, the retail sector is facing the loss of almost a million jobs and the closure of thousands of shops over the next decade.

Jobs are shifting or even disappearing entirely - often because of technology. At ASB Un-Plugged last week Scott Klososky talked about the concept of humalogy - finding the balance between humanity and technology. He said that we are sliding from a human world to a human-tech world. Often things we do these days are 50% human and 50% tech - for example driving a car where the driver is human but the car is technology - but this may change as more and more we are seeing ways of eliminating the human: self-driving cars, self-checking on airlines, online bill paying and a rise of companies who do not engage with customers such as Amazon and YouTube. While there will still be a place for humans in many areas that need empathy and understanding (funeral homes, doctors visiting, job interviews, creating art and so on), many other jobs will simply disappear.

What is the new normal? What is different today:
  • iTunes, the world's largest music retailer, has no stores (and within 3 years of its launch it was the No. 1 music retailer) 
  • Uber, the world's largest taxi company, has no taxis 
  • Facebook, most world's most popular media owner, creates no content 
  • AirBnB, the largest provider of rooms, has no real estate 
  • Skype, largest telecom company, has no infrastructure 
  • Some of the fastest growing banks have no money 
  • Twitter is the fastest form of news (approx 1 minute from event to publication) - yet has no reporters, no tv channels and no magazines 
  • Alibaba, the world's biggest retailer, has no inventory 
  • Netflix, the largest movie provider, has no cinemas

What implications do you think the "new normal" has for education?
Photo Credit: Keoni Cabral via Compfight cc

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