What Problems Are You Solving?

Mitch JoelPosted by

Disruption. Automation. Innovation.

People are no longer terrified that their jobs are going to be shipped overseas. Oh, don’t be fooled. There’s still that. Now, technology is also threatening to have our jobs (yes, all of our jobs) become obsolete through automation. There are two divergent trains of thought on the topic of automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics. On the one hand, you have those who believe that the future will be without jobs for most of us, as these technologies and innovations take hold. Clearly, this will reach that tipping point when it is cheaper and less time consuming for a computer and/or robot to do your work. On the other hand (and, the hand that I prefer), you have those who believe that the marvels of technology and innovation will provide a platform where human beings may no longer have jobs (as we have known them to date), but will be working alongside these technologies, in truly valuable and important work.

Both point to a very different world than the one we’re presently in.

In this excellent TEDx Talk, Tim O’Reilly (founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media and the man behind the reshaping of how technology has changed business) takes a look at what comes after a world in which he coined the terms “open source software,” “Web 2.0” (and identified countless other movements in our world that were shaped by technology). Titled, Why we’ll never run out of jobs, Tim asks one, critical question, to those who are concerned about what kind of work they will do in the future…

“What problems are you solving?”

The future will require people who have courage. The future will require people who can be either entrepreneurs or those that are entrepreneurial. Instead of focusing on what has changed or how things are changing, the future will be set for those who are willing to accept that there is so much work to still do. Those who are ready, willing and able to think about, create and build what’s next (funny enough, our tagline – and battlecry – at Mirum is “Let’s make what’s next.”). Aritficial intelligence, automation and machine learning should not replace us. First, we must define and solve these global problems. And, who better to accomplish this task than you? These future technologies should be created to help us… and not hinder us. How will we all be active participants in helping this challenge become a reality?

Our true opportunity. 

The true opportunity here is to understand that we shape our economy… not the computers and algorithms. So, the one true opportunity here is for all us to be the ones who really do update the rules of business today (and moving forward). Tim’s message is true. Tim’s message is powerful: great, big and new technology should make us all much better, not replaceable.

Watch this: Why we’ll never run out of jobs – Tim O’Reilly – TEDxSanFrancisco.