Navigating the Impact of Technology on Your Career
3 min read

Navigating the Impact of Technology on Your Career

Navigating the Impact of Technology on Your Career

Change, technology and progress are unstoppable forces.

It’s important you learn how to embrace technology and progress. Technology and change will not slow down by pretending they don’t exist. You must work to understand new technology, how it will impact the world around you, and have an accountability system in place to stay on top of changes.

Take my lead. I wrote my PhD on high frequency trading. Sounds really complicated, so let me unpack that for you:

  1. A PhD is merely a qualification to be an academic, and
  2. High frequency trading is just code that automatically places orders on a market.

High frequency trading was a hot button issue at the time. But it has since died down as the changes played out and became normal.

But people were still losing their minds back then.

Turns out, it was all for nothing.

I used a quote from the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” to start my PhD dissertation and a lot of the recent commentary on technology and change has reminded me of that quote.

Speaking of how his riding partners refused to learn how to maintain their motorcycle, preferring instead to call roadside assistance or find a mechanic in the nearest town, author Robert Pirsig writes:

“I disagree with them about cycle maintenance, but not because I am out of sympathy with their feelings about technology. I just think that their flight from and hatred of technology is self-defeating. The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha, which is to demean oneself.”

My interpretation of this quote is that people are scared of technology because they don’t understand it. But the cycle of technology and progress is as natural as anything. And there’s no need to fight it.

The cycle goes like this:

Every now and then, something new emerges, people revolt and fight against it, time passes, the change happens anyway, and we return to life without much personal change but living in a world benefitting from a new technology.

The reason why the media find such rich veins of content and turn the rage machine against technology is probably because the cycle follows that of a good story. Here’s the story wheel the creators use for the popular show Rick and Morty:

The Rick and Morty Story Wheel (Source: Reedsy Blog)

Quite similar I would say.

What I found in my PhD, after three years studying high frequency trading, was that HFT (as it was shortened) was just age-old strategies, applied faster. The speed of execution for these strategies had been increasing for the last 200 years before HFT existed. This was just a continuation of that trend.

On top of that, I found no evidence that HFT had a negative impact on the market, using traditional methods of measuring market quality and integrity (yes, super dry stuff I know).

The financial implosion that HFTs were meant to cause? It never happened.

There was the best possible check and balance in place, they were making a lot of money by investing with their own cash, and they didn’t want to lose it, or the opportunity to keep earning it.

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So let's replicate these conditions. Think of a new technology and rapidly evolving markets:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Virtual reality (the metaverse)
  • Driverless vehicles
  • Blockchain technology

If it goes wrong, those who are profiting must stand to actually lose something. Then, they’ll make sure the probability is low that it will go wrong.

Yes, some things are lost. HFT did mean that a lot of human traders were replaced by computer programs. But they could find other, more interesting jobs.

Societies change. There are risks. We need to do it right, and we must tread carefully. But nothing will stop the march of progress and it’s best to understand it and embrace it, then to put our heads in the sand.

So when it comes to your career. Focus on being resourceful, adaptable and empathetic. New technologies will come and go, but high potential talent that continuously learns and evolves will always be in demand.

Technology is evolving and improving. You must too.

Before you go: I have interviewed 500+ professionals, surveyed thousands more, and I am always probing for their best tips, tricks and hacks to get ahead. There are five that stand out above the rest and you can get them right now by joining my free email list. You won’t find these ideas anywhere else.