faculty speak

From Jurassic Park to a Jurassic World

Most of us may delightfully recall our memories of watching the movie, Jurassic Park (1993) directed by Steven Spielberg which became the highest grosser of all time until then. You might also be familiar with other movies in this genre like: The Lost World: Jurassic World (1997), Jurassic Park-III (2001), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018). And yet another thriller in this genre, Jurassic World-3 which is scheduled to be released in June 2021.

Despite having a sweet-tooth for such movies and having been entertained and enthused by them, we seldom get the message about similar predicament in our lives as depicted therein. Sitting back in contemplation and looking into the future of our work-life is by far the least that we do. These movies have been repeatedly trying to give us a message – rather give us a warning – about something more important to each one of us – the looming threat of human obsolescence posed by the growing influence and power of technological dinosaurs in our lives. We are progressively marching from a Jurassic Park environment into a Jurassic World, dominated by the dinosaurs of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain and robotics created by humankind through the magic wand of technology. Not far from now, we may all be engulfed by its autocratic regime, given its epidemic growth and inevitable influence in our lives. Today much of our choices, actions and decisions are guided by the algorithms of AI and other technologies, if not controlled.

Before we are completely overwhelmed by the raw muscle-power of technology and its potential to become our toughest competitor, let’s act with tact by riding on its horse-back as an expert jockey. This could probably be the only way of prolonging or postponing human obsolescence, if not preventing it completely. 

Now is the time to enhance our capabilities through new learnings and equip ourselves with strong immune systems to fight career obsolescence brought about by man-made technologies which have become man’s toughest competitors. This is the time to re-assess our competencies, rejuvenate and reinvent ourselves preparing to ride the technological crests and troughs in this turbulent business environment. The only way to survive the onslaught of technology tiger is to ride on its back and never get down from there. Once you are off its back, you become vulnerable by making yourself an easy prey to the ever hungry technology tiger. 

Let us take a few illustrations to underscore the point. The Japanese auto major Honda Motor Company, recently released its 20 millionth car. On this occasion, the company unleashed its plan to train 50,000 of its workforce exposing them to robotic equipment and virtual reality technologies, which will be deployed in many tasks in its manufacturing plants. In the last five years, Citibank had reduced its global workforce by 18 per cent while adding 23,000 new jobs of technology specialists. The recruitment firm TeamLease estimated that in the last five years, the demand for technology roles in Indian banking industry have increased at 6 per cent CAGR. The role of Chief Technology Officer has undergone a change over the years from that of a facilitator to becoming a key driver.

The message in today’s turbulent times is loud and clear – master the technologies relevant for current business context – those that are generic and have a longer shelf-life. Acquire such domain competencies which could enable you to create sustainable competitive advantage for brand ‘You’. Looking forward, this will be the only way you could survive, sustain and succeed in this Jurassic World dominated by the technological dinosaurs of analytics, AI, machine learning and robotics which are good servants but bad masters though.

Make “life-long learning” your personal mission statement which would never fail you. Best wishes for a wonderful future filled with successful career, worthwhile purpose, meaning and satisfaction in life.

Dr Vikramaditya Ekkirala
Associate Professor

Human Resources Management