Enterprise hits and misses - the robotic future of work is messy, and Facebook's brand erosion is lucrative

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed January 31, 2019
This week - new data on the robotic future of work sparks debate; Facebook's earning surge baffles and befuddles. Plus: humanizing the Internet of Things and vendor-washing cloud ERP upgrades. Your whiffs include the sloppy corporate web.

Cheerful Chubby Man

Lead story - The robotic future of work is messy, fuzzy and uneven
by Kurt Marko

MyPOV: The future of work is treacherous terrain. Sensationalism dominates yet genuine concerns linger. Who better to separate the grist from the mill than Kurt, and he's got plenty of grist to chew on here, via a fresh report on robots-and-jobs from the Brookings Institute.

What makes this report different? The specifics on robotic impact per industry, for one. After pushing aside the "modern-day Luddites and unrepentant optimists braying into the media wind," Kurt gets to business. His take on Brookings:

Jobs with the least exposure to automation-induced job loss are a study in contrasts that includes high-end technical and “creative” positions that require advanced training or human insight and low-paying service work doing personal care, maid and janitorial work or anything requiring what Brookings calls “the need for interpersonal social and emotional intelligence.”

Probing other studies, Kurt disrupts the reassurances of those who draw false comfort from history:

The numbers of displaced workers, spanning dozens of occupations and industries, undermines the validity of bromides about society having always successfully adapted to technology-induced labor market disruptions in the past.

It's a new twist on rich-get-richer:

The IMF paper aptly sums up the paradoxical dichotomy of robotics: its great for the economy writ large, particularly investors and those with specialized, automation-resistance skills, but terrible for the much larger group of low- and moderately-skilled workers... Handling this bifurcated labor market will represent a global challenge.

Indeed. Where I'd like to see the conversation go next: how employers and schools can lessen this bifurcation, partnering on new approaches to skills development. The time to double down is now, when automation is less about mass layoffs than skills transitions.

Oh, and I don't think "jobs with emotional intelligence" are as protected from robots as some theorists. Therapists? Yes, they are protected. But other service workers? Maybe not. Machines don't have to be anywhere near human to offer viable companionship. Right Alexa?

Happy children eating apple
Diginomica picks - my top three stories on diginomica this week
  • How to make the IoT work for everyone - the view from Davos - It wouldn't be Davos without some high-minded posturing thoughtful discussions on the human implications of the IoT. Chris bears down: "Predicting patterns in weather systems, early-stage cancers, or influenza outbreaks is one thing; but predicting someone’s potential to commit a crime is another, especially if organisations then use that data to deny them services, credit, or insurance."
  • Communities are a-coming and you'd better be ready for them - Den's latest podcast yap-and-writeup is with Rachel Happe of Community Roundtable, which has done as much for the community business case as any organization.
  • Coffee to your door as Starbucks makes delivery its latest digital gambit - Stuart grinds us another Starbucks special: "I suppose that for those who are unable to get to the store for whatever reason – as well as lazy Millennials – this could be a good thing." (Double) shots fired.

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

Meanwhile, I was pulling fresh cloud ERP use cases amidst the cowboy hats and astronauts at the Acumatica Summit:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotage:

Jon's grab bag - Brian's Enterprise Month in Brief for January covers everything from Oracle's application ambitions, ERP skirmishes, surprising new competitors for enterprise apps (Zoho, Google, Amazon?), and: clip-on man buns.

When enterprise software CEOs give their PR charm school efforts outlooks these days, they cite the caveats of global instability. Here's exhibit A from Jerry: China Conundrum Bombshell - U.S. files 23 criminal indictments against Huawei in two Federal courts.

Finally, we keep hearing about Facebook's erosion of brand trust. So what's up with the stellar earnings? Stuart weighs in on Facebook profits, revenues, users and advertisers all soar - what's it going to take? Earnings are easier when users are willing to swap their own privacy to peep on high school crushes addicted.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer
Quick roundup this week... blame it on tarmacs.

Honorable mention:


Overworked businessman
Out of concern for the well being of criminals in record cold temperatures, the Green Bay Wisconsin police have put out a ban on crime.

Turns out leeches aren't the best emotional support animals for air travel. And smuggling them is awkward. Snakes are problematic also:

I didn't get to this one last week, but Clive Boulton rightly points out that not password-protecting mortgage info is about as whiffy - and criminally sloppy - as it gets (Millions of bank loan and mortgage documents have leaked online). "The leak was traced back to Ascension, a data and analytics company for the financial industry."

This article might be something of a record for pretzel-twist explanations of data breaches by corporations who made sure they got paid gave these mortgage documents the chance to live freely and openly. Forget the dark web; the real danger is the sloppy corporate web. See you next time...

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. 'myPOV' is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.


Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, Winter Sports © lassedesignen - Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Zoho, Acumatica, ServiceNow and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.

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