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Is Technology re-skilling or de-skilling us?

Monday as always started with boring team meetings, the only good thing that I waited for was the lunch break with my office bestfriend. Lunch with Ananya has always been cheering. However, when I reached she was sad due to the department transfer email that she had received in the morning. A new software for data management had been purchased from a third party Software Development Company, cutting down Ananya’s major work role. Thus, she was being transferred to a different department. With further enquiry, I came to know how basic her work would be further on, it would impact her learning curve and career growth. She was in a dilemma about her next step. After a great cajoling, she joined me for lunch.

While I pushed myself to work to finish a few more tasks on Tuesday noon, Ananya came to me filled with positivity and her face lit with a smile. Surprised, I enquired if there were any changes in the transfer plan, to which she replied with a disagreement and said she altered her perspective. She has decided to upskill herself as per market requirements. I craved her resilience. I began to learn more about technological advancements and its impacts on skills.

While researching I came across various instances where technological advancements have helped people grow professionally by reskilling, while on the other hand, some have de-skilled people, leaving them with basic work tasks.

Beginning with the rise of the industrial revolution in the 18th century. Introduction of machines ranging from sewing, cotton gin, and agriculture machines to coffee, packaging or CNC machines has always impacted humans in terms of professional, financial and social lifestyle. The entry of machines in factories impacted laborers in a great way. It cut down their major chunk of craftsmanship leaving them with basic tasks or even making them jobless. This also impacted migration of people from villages to cities. It has also created opportunities for selected sections of the society while the labor class was pushed into slogging for long hours on low wages. Technological advancements, meanwhile, have made human life easier through inventions like refrigerators, washing machines, air conditioners, dish washers etc.

The technology that played a critical role in cutting the craftsmanship of one generation also also created advanced job roles like food delivery services, multi-dimensional opportunities for people who love to follow their passion through content creation and reselling platforms. Making people's lives much more simpler by making all services just a click away through mobiles. A large number of people have not only reskilled themselves but also moved ahead up the ‘standard of living’ ladder.

This quick service and access to information comes at the price of our personal contacts being sold as commodities among companies while our discussion or browsing of certain information, service or products floods our emails and text boxes with marketing offers .Regular usage of gadgets has been impacting our physical and mental health, creating need for health and fitness services and weakening our cognitive functions (grasping and thinking power). This vicious cycle has complicated our lives to a great extent.

Luxury being presumed as the new normal , a large number of people are totally dependent on electronic gadgets and services while a handful are on the journey to balance their life by doing social media detox. Technological advancement is a by-product of the growth of an era – socially, economically and professionally. And, our response, acceptance, usage and willingness to reskill ourselves or choose different livelihoods depends on how we balance the scale or tilt it towards addiction. The choice is ours!

(Author: Alisha Fernandes is an inquisitive learner & content writer at TechDoQuest)

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