The Impact of Automation on present Employees and young graduates


The anxiety of job loss is palpable for several employees from across the industries. Robots, Deep learning, Artificial intelligence has rapidly matured in taking care of most of the work performed by millions of Software engineers or white/blue collar workers.  Automotive and auto parts, electrical and electronic parts, business process outsourcing, textile, clothing and footwear  and retail are some of the industries that already are seeing loss of millions of jobs.

Most of the Banks, financial institutes, brokerage firms  will face closure due to rapid adoption of cryptocurrencies https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin which will affect millions of graduates/MBA’s  wanting to work in financial sector.

There are driver less cars, deep machine learning techniques which can accurately predict diseases (Doctors are you reading this?) and provide medical advices are some examples of how deep the impact will be.

Modern machines, Robots, sensors, Software can now not only do manual routine tasks but also do work that requires cognitive intelligence.

As a result a highly trained radiologist or a specialized software engineer in a company is in danger of being replaced by a Computer software or a Robot that have the cognitive capabilities and can work consistently.

According to a World economic forum report “current trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labour market changes over the period 2015–2020, with a total loss of 7.1 million jobs—two thirds of which are concentrated in the Office and Administrative job family” Source:  http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs.pdf

Due to rapid and wide spread automation, AI, Deep learning and Robots replacing humans,  there will be no requirement of software engineers who are just specialists in any core technologies such as JAVA, Web or RDBMS. Rapid maturity of the above mentioned technologies will have the following impact on employment, present jobs and future jobs.

  1. Around 56% of jobs in industries such as Logistics, Healthcare, banking, transportation etc. in areas HR, Services, deliveries, finance, IT,  middle management jobs (supervisors, managers, Software engineers, clerks, tax experts, bank clerks etc. ) are automated and employment in this areas will be dwindling rapidly.
  2. Other areas of job loss will be are hotels and restaurants (80.7 per cent), wholesale and retail trade (77.5 per cent), construction (70.8 per cent) and manufacturing (61.6 per cent). Source : http://www.ilo.org/global/lang–en/index.htm
  1. By year 2020 employees will be working with Robots and other intelligent machines as colleagues and they have to take orders from machines to fulfill the remaining work that is not already replaced by the machines.
  2. There will be a situation in many companies, where humans will not be able to get jobs and only robots handle entire company operations. One such live example is Dyson’s automated Singapore plant where 55 robots do all the work that is done by 100’s of engineers. https://www.fastcodesign.com/1671939/dysons-80-million-new-factory-dedicated-to-its-most-unsung-invention
  3. Infosys an Indian IT giant plans to embrace automation and artificial intelligence, besides other newer technologies. Post-automation of certain operations, Wipro is already in the process re skilling 4500 employees for new technologies.
  4. Few and few companies will visit Universities and colleges for recruiting students (NO MORE CAMPUS Recruitment)  and there is no choice for universities and colleges but to rapidly adopt to changing business needs and adopt to new skills and teach students the same. Otherwise they will be producing huge numbers of Un employed youth that will have a cascading effect on industry and the country’s growth prospects.

Suggestions for Universities, educational institutes, Schools and other skills imparting institutes.

  1. Employees, Students should have the mindset for New skills adaptation and they should always be willing to be learning constantly based on the business needs.
  2. Change the ratio of teaching staff to include Industry experts in the proportion of 60% academic and 40% Industry experts in universities, colleges and schools and make faculty accountable of what skills they impart to students and reward only those who make students acceptable by industry.
  3. Avoid recognizing Marks as the parameter of students success in academics and recognize and reward special skills , creativity shown by students. Allow industry experts to teach students ‘Creativity , innovation and change” and make it mandatory for students to prove they are learning this vital skills.
  4. Eliminate class rooms and replace with Practical labs. Embrace online MOOC classes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course  and make students to pass the courses designed by industry and academic experts.
  5. Ask students to solve society’s or industry’s problems as part of school, college project submissions. Indian Government as part of engaging citizens has shared some challenges with rewards. Check details here https://www.mygov.in/  BTW i participate in some of the challenges.
  6. Change syllabus to include what industry will be needing in coming years. Be Proactive in knowing the skills needed in next 5 to 10 years rather than reactive in teaching present skills needed.  There is a huge requirement for software and hardware security experts by 2020. A report from Frost & Sullivan and (ISC)2 found that the global cybersecurity workforce will have more than 1.5 million unfilled positions by 2020. But the security industry is a fast-growing market.  More details on this report is here. http://blog.isc2.org/isc2_blog/2015/04/isc-study-workforce-shortfall-due-to-hiring-difficulties-despite-rising-salaries-increased-budgets-a.html
  7. For those who are working in Software industry or any other sector here is my advice.  Visualize yourselves working with robots, machines only and into next 10 years of your career and work backwards to check what skills will be in demand after 10 years and start learning them right now. If you just know one skills you will be in danger of losing your job pretty soon. Having a diversified skills set is a reward in present job market.
  8. Jobs in areas such as Artificial intelligence, robotics,cyber-security,  building intelligent machines will be on raise and also many traditional jobs that need deep cognitive skills won’t be replaced rapidly and there is scope for job stability.
  9. Because of huge pressure, stress, anxiety in work areas,  individual’s health will suffer which will force for more visits to hospitals. Yoga and meditation will gain tremendous influence in helping those who embrace Yoga and Meditation. I advice young students to start seriously practicing YOGA and Meditation. You can make a career in this two healthy areas.

Finally those who are lifelong learners and who can rapidly adopt to changing job specifications, skills will stay relevant and those who resist change will be side-lined.

Any comments, additions to this article are welcome to do so. Thanks

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The new technique of Performance reviews


PR is different in different companies and the aim is to align employees to the goals of the company. But all said and done PR can create mixed emotions in employees and many feel stressful to know the shortcomings.

Performance reviews thru ratings also have shortcomings because of the bias in the perceptions it carries and it is imperfect science.

So in many ways Performance reviews are having challenges that will not bring the best intentions of the management nor satisfies employees.

I felt this whole exercise needs to be redefined in different ways. The following are my thoughts on this.  Please do not hesitate to add your feedback or comments.

This exercise should be preferably done by HR or Admin teams.

  • For the present financial year, HR with help from sales, marketing, and management teams should prepare a chart. That should contain details of required skills, competencies, overall revenue targets, expected sales, expected new skills, competencies needed etc. in the form a visual representation. This competencies/skills can be categorized on employee designations if needed and corresponding revenue targets should be matched.
  • HR should then make another matching visual representation of Skills, competencies and experiences of each employee and distribute the revenue targets across them. This can be done in the form of potential revenue generation capabilities and expected competencies in the form of what could be realized if a new skill is acquired. A sample for an employee by name Bob is as follows

PR

  • By categorizing the required competencies of each area and matching the same with specific employees skills will throw open the gaps that still need to be fulfilled by Bob.
  • Revenue targets that matches the above employee’s skills, competencies, experiences should be matched to each employee and discounted.
  • Now it becomes clear that there will be gaps due to forecasted sales in areas that need new competencies, or deficiencies in certain areas for people whose role needs that skill or competency or experience.
  • That should be made visible to employee and employer in a centralized location and accessible to everyone. As the employee meets the revenue targets or skills targets in the form of deliveries in the new skills area, data values of the above graphs should be adjusted during the year. That will instantly provide information to both employee and employer about the performance of every one.
  • Same exercise should be repeated for any other target areas such as employee’s growth, special contributions etc. as needed by the company.

There are several advantages with the above method. It makes employees to check their improvements as and when they want and becomes a major morale booster when they see the graph’s real time changes. It helps management to take corrective action and help employees as needed. PR exercise becomes much easier, seamless and highly visible.

Ultimately every PR aim is to achieve high productivity, keep employees happy, equip them with skills that are needed, help them to grow along with the organization, pay well and at the same time make sure the company’s target goals are achieved.

What helps firms to become successful in reaching their goals is by documenting major risks,  issues, potential problems, Known resolutions, ways of mitigating issues (example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andon_(manufacturing) )  and helping employees to have access to the knowledge database so they won’t repeat the mistakes.

Your thoughts please. ..

 

A new Proposal to Modernize farming In India and end Farmer suicides.


Climate change is the real game changer for this initiative. Small and medium Farmers are not equipped to deal /understand planets changing food habitat. I wrote about this way back in 2011. https://skillsnest.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/climate-change-get-used-to-new-kind-of-food/

The new idea to solve the problems of farmers is as follows.

Milestones that can be achieved : Banks spared from Loan losses, rural employment, Evolution of new business models, increase in soil fertility, crop yields due to scientific farming methods, agri-soil data analytics,  climate analytics, productivity gains in food supply logistics, new startups possibility and rural villages will thrive. Reduction/Elimination of corruption in agricultural activities .

Problem:

Small and medium farmers are succumbing to the enormous amount of debts, rising cost of living and failure of crops due to drought or excess rainfall or due to bad quality seeds and poor farming practices.

Banks stopped giving fresh loans, the government reimbursements end up paying old debts, fertilizer prizes are skyrocketing and private loan sharks loot whatever is left with the poor families of the farmer.

Banks targeted loan payments is 15, 000 crores but they disbursed just 6000 crores according to a regional newspaper article (link provided below).

Even if farmer succeed to raise crops the middle men robs the profits by paying a fraction of the amount and making bumper profits from the sales of the farmers yields in the open market. This is because all these small farmers do not have the financial leverage to store their produce nor to take it to the markets and sell.

On top of it the politicians use the situation for their advantage in the form of short term popular policies to garner more votes. They do not sincerely show empathy, passion to solve the problem.

Even if they announce policies with good intention there is no strict follow up to the end and in the name of these policies political and middle men swindle more money. In a nutshell there is no proper planning/auditing till the “LAST MILE” in everything the Government does constantly for ever.

The consequences: Due to above factors and many other reasons farmers are attempting suicide and families are coming on to the roads.

The situation is grave in many southern states such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana   India.

In regional newspaper (http://eenadu.net/news/newsitem.aspx?item=hyd-panel&no=1 ) the following statistics are given about the farmers suicides.

In the above states since 1997 till 2013 the suicides have risen from 1097 to 2014 and during 2015 there are around 1000 suicides.

The situation is becoming worse for the farmers who feed the nations billions of people.

The present solution:

Government implements popular measures of reimbursements, short term help to farmers in the form of subsidy and other methods. All of the present methods are short term solutions without any substantial benefits to the farmers for long term.

The policies of the government appears as a reaction measures only not preventive measures.

Opposition parties try their best to gain sympathy for more votes for their future elections from this fiasco.

The failure of the present solution

Some of these reimbursements end up with several rich farmers, politicians, their coterie of gangs and fake account holders who capitalize on these more than the real farmers who needs them. The whole system of reimbursement is full of looting and exploitation by some vested interests starting from the politician to influential people in the society.

The same thing happens in several other infrastructure developments, where government money is spent. These cartel of powerful politician, businessmen and their coterie of gangs make the most of every developmental work in India. The results of the infrastructure development is of low quality work and creates bad image about the country to outsiders.

The new solution:

To solve the vexing problem I propose the following solutions.

The gist of the proposal is to change the language and the perception of problem definition in order to get a right solution.

I redefined this problem from a corporate perceptive and framed my question of the problem. The question is now reframed as follows.

“How to sustain a business for long term while solving the present challenges”

By focusing on the problem in several other form of questions as above I could come to the following solution. If implemented this will solve several problems, country like India faces.

My purpose is to bring agricultural practices to a level playing field across the country with global best practices implemented with grassroot realities and development.

  1. Under national skills development program train students/ others who are interested in Agriculture to modern farming methods sourcing the best practices from countries such as Israel.
  2. Educate the farmers to outsource their lands for a fixed amount payable quarterly or half yearly. The land still belongs to them but the work is outsourced to professional farming companies. Pool all the small and medium farmers’ lands together to make a large agricultural land available for large scale farming with most modern methods sourced from across the globe.
  3. Use the trained students / others / owners of the farm lands to work in the fields with the best international practice implementations. Pay for their work as regular salaries or for a fixed price. Job creation for rural youth.
  4. Rope in venture capital funding agencies, businesses and global equity / money market funds and encourage them to invest in agriculture with tax benefits for the investments.
  5. Allow start up entrepreneurs work closely with cultivators to come up with new apps, products , services , storage facilities, logistics and other closely related works with venture funds made available for them.
  6. Support start-up companies that handle the logistics of preserving the food grains , transporting food till it reaches every house hold.
  7. Let government not involved in the whole supply chain logistics including the Last Mile but make sure to monitor strictly the whole process with regular checks and cross checks.

Benefits from the above method:

  1. Farmers are assured with fixed incomes from their lands.
  2. Banks need not take the burden of non-payment of loans nor they need not allocate huge amounts for loans and end up with NPA’s (Non-performing assets).
  3. Government need not spend huge amounts on reimbursements
  4. Eliminate middle men, brokers from the food supply chain.
  5. Provide opportunities for start-up business to flourish which will in turn gives more employment to rural youth.
  6. Land pooling will help in producing more and diversified crops with yields better than segmented pieces of lands cultivation.
  7. Misuse or excess use of fertilizers, chemicals, and pesticides can be eliminated since the farming is done by professionals.
  8. Helps in streamlining of food supply chain logistics and encourages ancillary units development in and around the villages.
  9. Local youth will become productive by honing their farming skills in the national skills development program and they get exposure to industry best practices. Solves unemployment and youth turning to crime problems.
  10. Helps entrepreneurs to come up with more start up ideas around agriculture with agricultural e commerce , apps development in ebay like auctions to flipkart like retails sales.
  • Provides opportunity for new business models to evolve from this.

Conclusion.

Check this video of the reality of the food problem and other facts about Indian situations . http://www.storypick.com/man-in-bus-video/

With further honing of the above idea Government can focus on support and sustenance of the projects and private professional players taking care of the real work. Slowly government can untangle from Commerce /business completely, by gradually outsourcing all the work to outside agencies and that will reduce the corruption in the country to a large extent.

I felt this is the best method to end Corruption in the country because the roots of all corruption starts from powerful politician, businessmen and percolates down to different government agencies.

Landbank

Some good Job related apps and websites


Those who are on the look out for jobs here are some good IOS/Andriod Apps.

1.  Job Talent  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jobandtalent.android&& 

2. Job Campus :  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.jobcompass.market

3.Jobr : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/jobr-swipe-chat-discover-your/id870221491?ls=1&mt=8

4.Job Interview questions : https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.divyu.HrInterviewQuestions.free

5. Visual Resume : http://re.vu/

6. Job Search Engine : http://www.linkup.com/

7. A Better Interview : http://www.abetterinterview.com/

8. Career attraction : http://www.careerattraction.com/

9. Career Bliss : http://www.careerbliss.com/

10. JOb Interview questions : http://www.quintcareers.com/interview_question_database/interview_questions_3.html

11. Tweet my jobs : http://www.tweetmyjobs.com/

 

Wireless internet access using LED, Software tool for Disaster areas


Wireless internet data from LED Bulbs

A German physicist Mr.Harald Hass  has come up with a promising new technology named D-light for accessing internet wirelessly using Led bulb

By flickering the light from a single LED, he can transmit far more data than a cellular tower — and do it in a way that’s more efficient, secure and widespread.

It has new applications in hospitals, airplanes, military, and even underwater. Click here to watch his demo at ted.

http://www.ted.com/talks/harald_haas_wireless_data_from_every_light_bulb.html

The findings are already in practice in different forms in many research labs across the globe. Here is a link to what others have found about using the flickering light bulb for transmitting data wirelessly.

http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/led-lights-internet-lvx-dec-27-2010

Wireless communication when everything breaks down during a disaster.

During a disaster relief agencies depend on satellite phones for communications. But they are expensive to buy and use. Here is a company that came up with a cheaper alternative software code that can be used to communicate information from a disaster zone.

http://thelifenetwork.org/

You need to download the software code(free to download) to your laptop or phone and can use in the absence of vital internet access. For extra service like texting you might have to pay a small fees for use. Still it is considered way cheaper than using satellite phones.

The company partnered with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in India, which will help deploy the service in communications-poor areas that have been hit hard by recent cyclones.

Bladeless table fans

Dyson an American company found a way to create a fan that does not have blades and called air multiplier. Dyson’s air multiplier blows a single sheet of air. The slope of wing creates negative pressure around the moving air sheet–thus sucking more air along for the ride. Thus while blowing little air the fan uses less current and gives out more air. Check more here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A3IM06xgr0

Jobs if you write code here http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/08/programming-challenges-benefit-job-seekers-and-employers/ 

 

Health care and technology = Money. Some more promising Kickstarter projects


Healthcare is rapidly catching up with technology. There are several apps, devices, gadgets that provide various services to keep us healthy and  transforming how health care is delivered.   Connecting with patients, monitoring their health  remotely has become more easy for doctors due to ubiquitous  use of mobile phones and other technologies. This resulted  in better service to patients and more business opportunities for hospitals , apps developers, wireless medical device developers etc.  But adoption of modern technologies, apps  by hospitals is very slow due to various reasons. One common problem doctors face is the accuracy of the results provided by the apps developed by people who are more technologists than doctors.  These resulted in a attempt by MIT Media lab to create a common platform for allowing would be entrepreneurs  Doctors and other field experts to collaborate and bring accuracy in diagnosis of patients. The above attempt also reveals that there is great potential for students, Medicos and app developers to check if they can create solutions that could lead them to start a company on their own. The MIT Media lab’s Hackathon allowed many such enterprising individuals to come up with various health solutions. Below links will  guide you to start creating some on your own. Good luck and keep checking my blogs for more interesting and useful articles.

http://www.geckocap.com/

http://eastafricaaidproject.org/mithwi/

http://www.youtube.com/user/newmediamed?feature=watch

http://www.media.mit.edu/research/groups/new-media-medicine

http://indivohealth.org/

http://vimeo.com/4400829#at=0

http://newmed.media.mit.edu/blog/jom/2011/03/16/stepwatch-visualizing-pedometer-data-motivate-physical-activity

http://newmed.media.mit.edu/blog/jom/2011/05/08/online-health-identity-maximizing-value-while-maintaining-privacy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/16/geckocap-accessory-inhalers-parents-kids-asthma_n_2487212.html

http://newmed.media.mit.edu/health-and-wellness-innovation-2013

Some interesting projects that got funding by public via Kickstarter are as belows. This should guide you to what attracts mass funding so that you can come up with similar projects too..

http://upverter.com/

https://tindie.com/

http://www.chaoticmoon.com/

http://store.rascalmicro.com/products/rascal-beta-unit

http://www.makershed.com/product_p/mkgk5.htm

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11400

http://www.makershed.com/MAKE_Arduino_Powered_Robot_Kit_2WD_p/msrob2w.htm

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game/posts/357600

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/597507018/pebble-e-paper-watch-for-iphone-and-android

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/smartthings/smartthings-make-your-world-smarter

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/supermechanical/twine-listen-to-your-world-talk-to-the-internet?ref=live

https://tindie.com/shops/ElectricLaboratory/ministylohopne-electriclaboratory/

https://tindie.com/shops/logicalzero/gamby-arduino-retro-gaming-shield/

http://www.dysonairblade.co.uk/hand-dryers/airblade-tap/airblade-tap.aspx

Many ideas need support in designing and taking up manufacturing the products. Below companies are helping the above entrepreneurs on manufacturing side of the products. I feel that there is room for having similar idea implemented and connect with kickstarter project owners in helping with their products.

http://www.dragoninnovation.com/

http://artisansasylum.com/

Building self confidence


Self confidence was not something that people are born with. Developing self confidence takes time and effort and yes, it is well worth the effort.

In my case, building self confidence was a gradual process. No matter how old or experienced we get, developing confidence is something that you should never stop doing. One of the things I found helpful was to step outside of my comfort zone. Comfort zone means that you are not trying anything new.

I realized early in my life that I need to be fluent in speaking English and be able to communicate well with others. One of the habits I developed was reading the news paper. That helped me to learn new words in English but I was thinking how to use that advantage to speak well with others in English.  So between friends we started a training institute to give tuitions to school children and intermediate students with nominal fees to cover our expenses. But for the first time I was facing audience. I was nervous and first few days I could not speak well. But as days passed by I became comfortable with students and was able to speak and on the way learnt more words in English. That is the fist step in building self confidence.

Then came the job offer. Now I have to face experts and I’m back to nervousness. I then asked my friends whether they can do mock interviews for me and ask whatever they like to and I answer them. I got good practice but on the day of interview I was still nervous and hoping to take control of myself. As I walked in, there are around 10 to 12 experts sitting in a big hall. The moment I saw them all my practice and confidence nosedived and I was very nervous. Fortunately the team was very comforting and helpful. I think most of the interviewers know our situations. As the questions rolled out from their mouths my nervousness become less and less. By the time I’m done with interview I was confident and smiling. I got the job too.

I continued my pursuit of  reading and mastering new things every day. That helped me to get a job in US of A  and I went to US and worked with some of the smartest people on the planet. I learned a lot and I keep learning every day from all situations and all kinds of people. Confidence increases if you know the subject well. So never stop learning in your life whether you are young or old. It keeps your mind healthy.

The trick was to start small and then keep challenging myself  and step outside my comfort zone on a regular basis.

Don’t be afraid to take on a new task when asked by your manager or professors at college or your parents or anybody. Turn it into a challenge and keep thinking in the back of your mind that this is just another method in building your self confidence and learning new things. Use modern tools and methods to accomplish your work in a much better way. Don’t  just stop with first solution for a problem  but try to look at the problems from different perspectives. You will be surprised to know how many ways a problem can be solved and that gives more confidence to you.

Don’t expect to gain a massive amount of confidence in one day. It’s a gradual process. It took me years. More challenges and opportunities you are faced with, the easier it will all become to become confident. Be careful though, not to mix up self confidence with being over confident. They are two different things. Don’t have unrealistic expectations of you either. Take one step at a time and build on it. Building self confidence comes from a person’s desire for self-development, accomplishments and achievements. And yes, the rewards are so worth it and I’m one example for you to learn first hand what wonders self confidence can do. Want to learn more then email me.