In the past month, I’ve been spending time reading some books – rounding out my goal of reading 52 books or more this year. One that I am inclined to recommend out of the 38 I’ve gone through this year is a historical one – “Empire of Cotton: a Global History” by Sven Beckert. It was a fascinating book that covers the impact on trade and labor that the cotton industry had on the world.
I see this as history repeating itself through new means in the information revolution that is happening now. Which ties into another great book that I read at the beginning of the year “The Industries of the Future” by Alec J. Ross – where he talks about the growth potential of the industries like robotics and cloud computing.
Seeing how things have changed in the last 15 years, I think that it is likely to expect a complete shift in how and why jobs are done in the next 15 – if many jobs are not entirely replaced by software and hardware. It is an intriguing thought – particularly since the maritime industry is becoming more and more automated.
With Rolls-Royce moving forward with their drone bridge systems and shore-based watch standers being enacted. It will be a fascinating time for the shipping industry – particularly for those who haven’t taken the time to learn how to interact with computers well. Others who spend time learning basic programming and command skills I think will have a leg up on those who have been sailing for 25 or more years who are less comfortable using computers. The younger generation will find themselves in a good position – to train on technology as it develops, rather than have learned obsolete interfaces – and have to learn entirely different ones.
Even at 31 I am between these two groups – learning technology that was in use 5 to 10 years ago and is now obsolete and replaced by in some cases much different interfaces and operational programming. I am excited to see what is coming with the next wave of shipping technology – and to see how the look-out problem for drones is going to be solved. We are just on the brink of a new era – what will the world look like after the wave passes and the horizon has changed?