Approximately one year ago, I committed to taking three months to research the impact that technological change is/was having on the development/ design/ construction industries, because it is an industry I have worked in and enjoyed for over 40 years. The three months grew to six months, and with the review of two significant books, the time impact expanded to 9 months.
In the “About Gordian Views” in this blog I noted that I had seen first-hand the impact of 18- 22 percent inflation in the mid 1970’s when we had made significant changes in the way we did our work simply because there was no choice. If we delayed a project as little as one year, it became financially infeasible.
I also saw the impact that three significant recessions had on our industry—but I was always able to work and contribute through each. It wasn’t always easy, but there was always a pathway.
Today, as we are watch new technology breakthroughs introduce change into every industry, we are seeing jobs diminish or disappear. The increased productivity is a boon to the owners and users of the facilities we build and the productivity is good for those companies that are adapting. The negative impact is that this time, those jobs are not being replaced.
This past week I found two very telling stories that underscore how wide reaching this technology “wave” is across our world. The first was in the Financial Times, and written by John Thornhill. The title is “ Europe is ill-equipped for borderless world of technology”. Please Google ft.com for the complete article, but I offer a short excerpt in the following;
“The disruptive force of technology threatens to uproot many of the industries on which Europe has built its prosperity and challenge the balance of power across the world. This technological challenge, of course, is convulsing all governments, societies and economies. But some US tech entrepreneurs, who attended the Ambrosetti forum in Italy at the weekend, warned that Europe might be particularly exposed to the fast-changing “techno-geopolitics” of the world.
Craig Mundie, Microsoft’s former chief research and strategy officer, says: “People still talk about the geopolitics of oil. But now we have to talk about the geopolitics of technology. Technology is creating a new type of interaction of a geopolitical scale and importance.”
The second article was in today’s Denver Post. It is titled “ Robots take root on smaller dairy farms upping production” by Lisa Rathke, Associated Press. Again I suggest you Google for the entire article, but here is an excerpt:
Robots have taken up residence at some small- and medium-sized dairy farms across the country, providing reliable and more efficient labor and helping the businesses remain viable. Plus, farmers say, the milking technology makes for happier, more productive cows. Dairy operations here and abroad have used robotic milkers for more than a decade. But with more manufacturers and dealerships emerging in the U.S., the number of smaller farms in Iowa with the technology has doubled over the last two years, from roughly 20 to more than 40, and family farms in the Northeast also are plugging in. The cost of not automating the milking process may be greater for some farmers than shelling out hundreds of thousands of dollars, experts say.
Lastly, to further underscore how pervasive technology driven change has become, please note the following press release from Colorado State University.
“Colorado State University has tapped a proven leader to position the College of Agricultural Sciences to drive innovation and entrepreneurship within the state’s agricultural industry. Ajay Menon will become the college’s next dean beginning July 1.
Menon served for the last 13 years as the dean of the College of Business, where he recruited faculty and created programs that have helped propel that college to the top-ranked business school in Colorado. As the state’s first chief innovation officer — a cabinet-level position appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper — Menon played a pivotal role in cultivating a business ecosystem that promotes entrepreneurship and innovation in Colorado.”
I am renewing the research and will commit another year to writing about those areas where Technology is having a significant impact especially in design and construction.
I hope you continue to find these posts of value.