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The status quo is toast

“New technology,” says AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon, “has consequences.”

Here’s an interesting example: driverless cars. The buzz says they’re safer. They’ll reduce the number of accidents and, by extension, the number of insurance claims. Fewer people will die on the roads.

What’s the downside? Studies say driverless cars will result in fewer organ donations. Think about it: Fewer people will die on the roads, so fewer organs will be donated … and fewer people who need those organs will get them.

We didn’t see that coming, did we? Unintended consequences.

New technology does that.

We often think of new technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cognitive-learning machines as job-killers. They’re going to do everything we’ve spent decades learning to do, and they’re going to do it faster and more accurately. They’re going to take our jobs — and our livelihoods with them. But they’re also going to create untold numbers of new jobs.

Call them unexpected consequences.

Either way — job losses or job gains — we’re going to have to remake ourselves. We’ll need to learn how to work with the machines … or we’ll have to learn how to do the things the machines can’t do.

Or maybe we’ll have to learn how to do both things at the same time.

Any way you slice it, the status quo is toast.

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