Keynote at Christian party’s national convention
On 26 January 2020 the Norwegian Christian party KrF held they annual national convention. Professor Tor W Andreassen was the invited keynote speaker: “What will digitization require of us?”
As an introduction to the speech, Andreassen reflected on some of the technology break-throughs from previous decade 2010 to 2019:
- From typing on computers to talking to Siri and Alexa
- From calling for a cab to booking a driver via an app
- From the doctor telling us how we are to the smart watch informing us about sleep, heartbeat, and exercise.
He then raised the question: Technology has since the Industrial Revolution changed the rules of the games with great benefits to all. Why should we be concerned about the current digitalization movement?
The answer is simply the force and magnitude of the change this technology brings with it that is so different from any previous technology. Artificial intelligence, 5G, and Internet of Things are important and powerful technologies by themselves. However, when they work together they create the perfect storm as we move from a linear development to an exponential development.
Andreassen discussed three implications for three areas: industry, workforce, and education. Fort industry there are three important challenges: platform economy, growth without employment, and start-ups.
Platform companies connect buyers and sellers in an effective way thereby reducing transaction costs and increase organizational agility and scalability. Since 2010 platform companies have replace oil and gas companies as the most valuable firms in the world in 2019. Platform companies are able to create the same revenue with far less (x10) employees and are rewarded with a market cap that is significantly higher than most manufacturing firms.
Workforce issues related to two significant factors: robots, algorithms, and the GIG-economy. According to World Economic Forum job families like Office and administrative people and Manufacturing and production will experience a dramatic reduction while jobs within Architecture and engineering and Computer and math will grow.
Government sector has a huge potential to free up works that can be allocated to the private sector.
As for the GIG-economy, driven by platform companies, there is a strong force toward a different coupling to the labor workforce than being 100% employed by an organization to operating as a contractor for several companies.
Universities and higher education must adopt to technology (MOOC), cross-training, and life-long training. Most universities are organized in silos, i.e. a student is required to do all her courses with one department or area. Crossing campus for supplementing courses and get credits is in Norway not simple. Students should be encouraged to take courses outside their silo, e.g. a medical student should be able to take some business courses from a business school, and business students should be able to take art or creativity courses.