All children have dreams before most of them are shattered by their parents, teachers or other well intended persons. What was your dream as a child? Was it to be a doctor? An astronaut? A singer? Maybe a firefighter?
How far are you today from your dream as a child?
I’ll tell you mine, which were actually two. One of the classics, I wanted to be an explorer. Uhm, that didn’t go exactly as planned (meaning Jules Verne style — yup, I read all his books), but hopefully I still have some exploring spirit left.
The other dream — don’t laugh, I will see you! — was to drive my own truck. Now, looking back, I tried to understand why I wanted to be a truck driver and I figured it out. At that early age, I thought a truck driver roams freely the roads he chooses, when he wants and where he wants. And in my vivid imagination, it was a very cool, high-tech truck, of course!
Now, back to present-day the part with a truck couldn’t be further from the truth, I don’t even have a driver’s license (for any kind of auto-vehicle). Who doesn’t, you may think? Well, I’ve just raised my hand here and waving at you, but you can’t see it!
The part with “free” and “high-tech” is much closer to the truth though. With a license in computer science and without a work situation that straps me to a location (although I usually work from home), that comes close to high-tech and free. Again, “slightly” different than my dream as a child and there’s much room for improvement, but the essence is there.
Back to you. What was your dream in childhood? Was it to own your own business? If that’s true, 3 billion people are currently connected to the internet and the number is raising rapidly, and the costs for opening a business online are insignificant. The challenge is to operate it on the long term in a profitable fashion while adapting to rapid changes and increased competition. Or, if you like risks, by creating shifts or disruptions in your industry which may lead to major leaps forward (or not, thus the risk, but have you known any entrepreneur who hasn’t failed at least once?).
While so many more people have a chance to open a business online, it is an utopia to think we will become a world of business owners. Some businesses will still need human workers and many people won’t like the hassle of owning a business.
I said “human workers” for a reason, because that will become a rarity in most industries, as we know them now. Here’s an online example you may be familiar with. I’m sure you know Neobux and Clixsense, they are very popular. Their mini jobs (tasks) options use a site called Crowdflower to provide the tasks. If you look at the homepage of Crowdflower, you will see they use the results of these tasks as training data for AI, which will learn and eventually do those tasks themselves, faster and more accurate than humans can. While this is progress, the future human task-worker will need to find something else to do.
On the middle ground between the business owner and worker we find the freelancers, who like flexible schedule and dream to their freedom, but haven’t taken the step into owning a business.
We live interesting times, when we experience in our lifespan multiple major technological disruptions, which redefine the way we connect, do business, even the way we dream.
Have you heard of dreams like “I want to work in a factory like my father.”? They were probably common in the industrial age. And that age is not that far away.
Does your dream as a child make sense in today’s world? Would it still make sense 10 years from now? If not, how do we redefine a dream to be less dependent of rapid developments? If your children or grandchildren dream to be doctors, will human doctors still exist at a large scale on certain specializations when they grow up? Ah, there I go shattering dreams…