The rapid rate of information technology deployment is one of the great transformations of the 21st century. Throughout history technology are deployed to do repetitive and information based tasks. When this happen the human skills associated with those tasks get rapidly devalued. They become worth less.
A great example of this is the impact that the telegraph had on the Pony Express. One the telegraph was hooked up the Pony Express went out of business in four days. This meant that the once highly sort after skill of horsemanship was now worth less. They weren’t worthless but the laws of supply and demand meant that Pony Express riders were no longer worth the 1o times premium that they earned over the standard non-skilled wage.
As a new breed of technologies are deployed to do everything from manager our customer relationships, complete our expense reports, and compile our client proposals we need to think about which of our skills are going to maintain their value in the 21st century. Skills such as working the fax machine, letter writing, and long division are already largely gone. Soon to follow might be filing, typing, searching for information and information analysis.
Conversely the skills where technology will take a long time to replace, such as creative thinking and relationship building, are likely to maintain their value over the medium to long term.
What are your 21st century skills and what are you doing to ensure that you focus on the tasks that are worth more not worth less?
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