By 2025, a quarter of the people you know will be displaced by smart software or robots in their place of work. Already, many people find themselves unemployed, underemployed or part of ‘hidden unemployment’ because they’ve simply stopped looking for work. It’s inevitable — technology and automation is going to advance faster than we can invent new ‘jobs’. Researchers at the World Economic Forum predict that by 2020, 5 million jobs could be lost in the US due to the disruptive nature of automation.
There are political solutions — some advocate the institution of an unconditional basic income. It could negate the necessity to depend on the support of friends or family who still hold employment, eg. by taxing the megacorporation oligarchies springing out of these developments in tech, and provide some freedom to a displaced workforce and a little bonus on top for everyone still fully employed. It could usher in a creative golden age, where people can afford the risk to spend more time making music or using the advancements in 3D-printing, peer-production, etc.
But politics is slow. Either you’re too young and restless to wait for it, or you’re so aware of your impending demise that you simply don’t have the patience. Both may apply.
What can you do now?
In order to understand automation, you’ve got to apply automation.
This will make you a valuable asset to organisations, and if it somehow doesn’t, at least you’ll know how to do more with less.
Automation is an investment. Often, it takes some time to set something up and to tweak it to get it just right, but if you do it right, it gives you a return on investment within weeks, days, or in some cases hours.
My favourite tools for automation are Buffer and IFTTT.
Buffer is a super powerful tool that helps you buffer your social media posts. You can set particular times of day when things should go out. You have a queue which you can keep filled up. To top it off, Buffer even recommends relevant articles, images and quotes you can add.
It tracks performance data and then recommends the best times to post things and lets you automatically adjust your schedule to those times with one click. Very helpful when you have followers across multiple timezones.
If you really want to get a grasp on automation, you should start using IFTTT right away.
IFTTT stands for If This Then That. It’s the basic statement at the heart of programming. The service lets you tie together services you’re using and then set a condition on one service that triggers an action on another. Some examples:
- IF I add tracks to this Dropbox folder THEN upload them to my label’s Soundcloud account
- IF someone tweets using a hashtag THEN add it to my Twitter monitoring spreadsheet
- IF it’s going to rain tomorrow THEN send me a notification
- IF there’s a top post on Reddit’s r/ListenToThis THEN add it to a Spotify playlist
Spend some time on IFTTT and try some of their ready-made recipes like the ones above. If you’re feeling brave and creative, set up your own recipe to automate something you do regularly (eg. copying items from a team task management tool to your personal to-do list). Remember that these automations can be used to create something new, like raw datasets, which can then be organised and automated for other purposes.
A final pro tip: tell your friends about this tool and see what type of things they automate. You’ll be surprised and inspired.
Some bonus material:
Cool automation story: Bandcamp created a simple ticker that would post to their team communication channel every time someone bought a song, so they could celebrate their success. They realized it’s a good music discovery tool, so they put it on their frontpage.
- The inspiration for today’s post is levels.io’s talk “How Technology is Shaping our Future: billions of self-employed makers and a few megacorporations” >>>
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- Music business growth hacking 101: how to scale your fanbase & revenue sustainably >>>
This article’s title is completely tongue in cheek 😜