Losing our jobs for the better?
The rise of crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, crowdtransporting, crowdletting, etc., has transformed our economy. It has also ushered in the era of the shared economy. Previously marginalized people can now contribute, no matter how small, to all walks of life. It seems to be a fantastic opportunity for the world to access the untapped skill of the crowd. But what about the people whose jobs this makes redundant? Whither the expert?
With the exponential growth in the internet, we have seen similar growth in internet based companies and services. Many of these companies and services exploit the internet’s connectivity to be able to reach people who were previously excluded from a typical business’ day-to-day affairs. These individuals are often willing to offer their “expertise” in return for money, recognition or simply because it is fun. More importantly they are often willing to offer their “expertise” at a much lower price than an expert carrying out the same work.
This has led to the proliferation of business opportunities such as Threadless, Airbnb, iStockPhoto, Uber and hundreds more. These businesses engage thousands of people mostly on a casual basis, who are more than happy to make a bit of money on the side. However, for every flower each sharing bee pollinates, it leaves one less for the bees living only from pollinating flowers.