It’s only the beginning

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“I love this conference!” Joe Schoendorf from Accel Partners opens his session at DLD15 enthusiastically although his message is thought-provoking. “We are creating technology that replaces labour”, says Schoendorf.

He is certain this development is going to happen, but the outcome is still unknown. Intently Schoendorf describes the rapid evolution “from carrying bricks to using the i-phone as our professional tools.”

The book that made him think most about the labour component in today’s digital evolution is the “Second Machine Age” by McAfee and Brynjolfsson. The central thought of the book is: we’re producing machines that replace labour, freeing up millions of people, creating profitable business without hiring people.

This sounds like an attractive vision to any entrepreneur. Schoendorf warns the DLD15 audience that he believes “what we’re actually doing is: replacing customers. As a lot of technology is going to take away livelihoods.” He doesn’t want to give a socio-political talk tough, rather he want to but inspire all to use the potential of the digital industries and come up with ways to that deal with this development.

Schoendorf says “things take time to happen but when they happen, they happen a lot bigger than you can imagine. Same day delivery today will become same day production close to where you live for example.” Yet we need to make this transition with a population that is not trained for the information age. Schoendorf urges that coding needs to be taught at 1st grade but it will take time for the workforce to be ready for the digital jobs that are created.

The concerned look into the future by Joe Schoendorf ends with a question to the DLD crowd: “Capital is innovation and it exists with the permission of labour. What happens when you take labour out of that equation?”

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