The development of technology is changing the world. Moreover, it is often so fast that human thinking, prone to conservatism and “proven methods,” simply does not have time to quickly adapt to changing realities and fully utilize new opportunities. There have been thousands of articles with flashy futuristic images that have been telling us about all the newest gadgets and flying cars and all that stuff, yet none of them seem to be helpful. Such technologies are far away, and they won’t affect us, common folk, any day soon. So today I would like to discuss the development of technology and its effect on the working class.
For example, for several years I had to explain to various bosses and customers that if there is a home computer with internet connection, the analyst may not be sitting in the office, but rather do his work at home.
However, why only at home? A number of professions, including analysts, journalists, writers, accountants, and many others related to information processing, can work in general from any place on the planet, even when climbing the mountains – as long as they have a laptop computer and internet connection – mobile, satellite or, as it is now being developed, global Wi-Fi (although it will be called differently, even though the principle is similar).
And for quite a long time I had to get up early, go through half the town to work, and then sit all day in a stuffy office, away from my own refrigerator. Just kidding, away from relatives. And this concerns not only traveling to work.
In general, I had to live for several years in a city that I didn’t like too much – too big, too noisy, too crowded with traffic jams – and only in 2010 did I manage to convince the management of the center I worked for (still very advanced compared to the others, by the way) that I can do my job just as good, and perhaps even better, when I am at home.
The question may arise: how does my personal experience intersect with futuristic trends? These trends clearly show that all these offices are deeply and hopelessly outdated. Why pay rent for an expensive office if you can arrange a virtual representation on the Internet? And even if personal meetings are sometimes needed, they can be carried out in cafes, restaurants, or even in parks.
Why physically gather employees for a meeting in one place if you can make a Skype conference? There is no longer a need to concentrate a ministry or department within the framework of a single building, and it does not have to be located in the capital.
And the very concept of the capital can become very blurry because the residence of the president can move along with him on an airplane, train, or even a specially equipped bus (some American senators, by the way, only travel by such buses).
VR creates a lot of opportunities. You can have a meeting while sitting in your bedroom, in your underpants or in a storm on the top of a mountain, but you will be in fact sitting in a comfy office, with Victorian furniture and a heavy oak table in the middle. Use any other picture you want – from the medieval castle to the high-tech office of glass and concrete. They say that VR will be the new trend of the dating market; imagine the ability to meet a single woman and have a date with her without walking out. The future is weird.
And if you also give up most of the paper workflow, you can save a huge number of trees, save on printer cartridges, and not bother with creating special rooms with shelves for storing archives.
At one of my previous workplace, it came to insanity: the incoming email was printed out and carried to the director in paper form only because he was too old and inert to read from the monitor screen. Computers are so incomprehensible and scary.
This is nothing new, yet remember how easier it is to store data in one of those electronic libraries where information is much easier to find than in traditional ones. Gradually, all these traditional office centers, high-rise ministries, departments, and huge libraries will be replaced with new and easy-to-access online libraries.