Why Machines Won’t Displace Human Workers in the Knowledge Economy is a short thought experiment, in the spirit of all Noodles, which was in response to a post in Wired. In Here’s How to Keep the Robots From Stealing Our Jobs, John Hagel posited that a major rationale for the Knowledge Economy firm would be its role as a “knowledge platform” that enabled people to accelerate their learning and productivity. I highly recommend the post, which sparked many intelligent comments.
It’s obvious that many people are having difficulties imagining the world toward which we are hurtling, a world in which machines are getting “smarter” and able to “compete” for work roles that humans now do. In writing The Social Channel App, I thought long and hard about the Knowledge Economy and people’s roles in it, and its main thesis is that everything, from states and enterprises to people and products, will be differentiated in the Social Channel and that “humanness” will assume a much more visible importance in the economy.
The rise of design signaled the fall of Nokia, RIM and Motorola describes how engineering is becoming less important in distinguishing hightech and other products from each other. It also presages a seismic shift away from product towards customer experience in determining market leaders for people-oriented products and services. A very large portion of product companies will follow in the footsteps of these three former mobile phone titans unless they transform their focus from product features (engineering) to customer experience (design).
By no means do I imply that engineering is not important—in fact, it is more important than ever—I assert that it is less important than design in differentiating people-oriented products. Engineering is abstracted away from the customer/user of the product, and design explicitly addresses how the customer uses the product to attain outcome(s).
Design is to the Knowledge Economy what engineering was to the Industrial Economy.