Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, founder of Symphony Technology Group and a philanthropist addressed the crowd of around 1000 IIT ians at a Global Business forum in Goa on October 16, 2015. His keynote, just after audacious growth targets and expectations were set by the senior members of the IIT Bombay team and the Government representatives, was grounded in a very important but neglected parameter in India’s growth story, that is employment!
As media works overtime to hype the issue of job losses in Indian IT, the reality is that writers of code are threatening their own jobs! Increased automation and use of tools make it easier and less labour intensive to create software. This is mirroring what is happening in a host of industries, whether manufacturing or services.
Every technology disruption has led to job losses, and destruction of entire industries or professions. But this time around, we appear to be in a veritable technology storm. Not one, but many (many!) technologies are supplementing and accelerating each other. (Some call it convergence?!)
Slowing job growth across the world, coupled with very visible job losses in retail, media, banking, manufacturing, and most traditional/mainstream industries has led to pessimism. After all, in future: cars will drive themselves; machines will print products; algorithms will trade shares; bots will service customers; software will conduct interviews; …
Naturally, people are scared. Wouldn’t you be?