The ETM Manifesto
With the recent dawn of the 3rd decade of the 21st century, humanity is now approaching a technologically-driven paradigm shift that will completely uproot the traditional concept of what employment is, and will almost certainly displace a significant portion of the global workforce in the process.
The impact that emerging technologies will have on all areas of human life is hard to accurately predict, save that the next 20 years will likely be the most profound era of change that we as a species have ever experienced.
As we advance as a civilization, we enjoy the benefits of each new technological discovery – previously unthinkable levels of interconnection with the advent of the Internet, the power to create artificial intelligence that can outperform human medical practitioners, vehicles that no longer need our control and are instead autonomous.
The double-edge of this situation is that while some will use these new technologies to improve their lives, others will undoubtedly have their lives destroyed by society’s relinquishment of the need for their services. Years of experience and knowledge instantly rendered useless, a world that is rapidly changing around them.
While there is a focus on the potential for the creation of new jobs within the technology sector during this new phase, this line of thought neglects to address some underlying issues that, at best, will cause severe complications for much of the world.
Emerging Technologies – A Definition
Emerging technologies are distinct scientific fields that are radically novel, currently being developed, have a high propensity for being studied academically, have been discovered or substantially advanced in the recent past, and that have an exaggerated likelihood of impacting society in significantly transformative ways.
Examples of emerging technologies are artificial intelligence (AI), cryptocurrency, blockchain, extended reality (XR), 3d printing (3DP), internet of things (IoT), robotics, drones and autonomous vehicles.
The Problems We Will Collectively Face
A Need for the Expansion of Possibilities: The sphere of emerging technologies has an established infrastructure to streamline newcomers that pursue one of 3 main goals: a career, launching a startup, and positioning within academia. Currently there is sparse conceptualization for involvement in emerging technologies outside of these 3 functions, and a formal university education is overwhelmingly the predominant method of entry. For much of the world this is a strongly prohibitive barrier to entry.
A Need for a Bridge for Traditional Workers: While many tech jobs are being created and will continue to be created in the coming years, transitioning from being a truck driver to studying for 4 years to become an AI software developer is not feasible for many 40 year olds that have 20 years experience as a truck driver and have never written a line of code.
A Need for the Avoidance of Rampant Unemployment: Immense pressure will be put on society as a whole if large swathes of the population are unable to secure employment or an income. Historically, any society that experiences mass unemployment suffers from a wide range of negative symptoms that reduces the quality of life and progress of that society.
A Need for More Location-Independent Income Streams: Today the world is more geographically fluid than ever before with global migration levels progressively increasing for the past 17 years according to the UN, and an ongoing increase in the number of people working remotely according to the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics. As globalization increases, there is greater demand for location-independent work.
A Need for New Work for Existing Freelancers: Freelance work is currently massively over-saturated globally with a growth of 20x of the number of freelance workers online since 2014 according to Forbes, while the total number of hours worked by all freelancers collectively has barely increased during that same timeframe. There is a heavy oversupply of people seeking remote work, with not enough demand globally for traditional freelancing to account for more than a small fraction of it.
A Need for a Larger Tech Talent Pool: As emerging technologies become ubiquitous in the world, the tech industry will need more people that understand these fields intimately. For those who cannot access an academic route to entering the tech industry, there should be another way that has a lower barrier to entry, whilst developing the similar skills in the same fields. For the tech industry, having a larger talent pool of experienced practitioners to tap into will allow for enhanced opportunities for growth.
The Proposed Solution – Emerging Technology Monetization (ETM)
Emerging Tech Monetization is the bridge between bleeding-edge technologies and the sector of the population that may currently be non-academic and non-technical, but would like to generate an income with emerging tech without having to set up a startup, study for 4 years, or apply to work at Google or Facebook.
If we use existing internet-based work as an analogy, the emerging technology world today only provides work for the equivalent of network engineers, system administrators and senior software developers, where ETM will provide work that is more similar to that performed by SEO (search engine optimization) or SMM (social media marketing) professionals.
The barrier for entry for starting a career as a social media marketer is substantially lower than that of a professional software developer. There is no need to get a degree in computer science or software engineering, no need to spend years building experience at different tech companies.
However millions of people around the world are earning their income from working in exactly these kinds of roles, that often can be learnt within weeks and mastered within months.
The only realistic and viable solution for those that need to rapidly transition from their newly-obsolete profession into one of the many tech-centric fields that are now professed to be their logical next step is by creating new ways of making money with emerging technologies, bridges between high-tech fields and the general population, and resources to allow for income generation without the need for a degree, series A funding, or a reference from past employers in the tech sector.
Preparation for this large scale transition should begin now, and not only after societal symptoms begin to show.
Emerging Technology Monetization Methods (ETM Methods) – A Definition
ETM methods are techniques, processes and business operations that involve the use of one or more emerging technologies, which have the explicit aim of generating revenue or income, and that are not classifiable as launching a startup, or gaining employment.
Examples of ETM methods are cryptocurrency mining, creating custom virtual reality avatars, artificial-intelligence-based online marketing, and bespoke 3d printing services.
Where launching the cryptocurrency site, CryptoKitties, is not an ETM method, developing a way of reliably buying and selling virtual kitties on the site for profit is an ETM method.
Opportunities and Challenges
It’s clear even after a brief amount of consideration that exploring this concept will present some significant financial opportunities for all of those involved.
This truly is unbroken ground as it stands today, with little focus on many of these novel ways to earn revenue from emerging technologies, that will undoubtedly be, not only possible for the wider population to take part in, but also highly desirable from their point of view to do so.
There are 3 distinct organisational groups that will contribute to the development of ETM: Researchers, Facilitators, and Practitioners.
Are the organisations that are involved in the research and development of emerging technologies, such as academic institutions, think tanks, and tech-centric corporations. They are the source of new advancements within emerging technologies, and these advancements provide the framework for Facilitators to work with.
Are the organisations that will create the software infrastructures that will act as a bridge between the cutting-edge technologies being developed by Researchers, and ETM Practitioners. The tools that they build will reduce the learning curve for non-technical users to be able to work with emerging technologies, and will allow Practitioners to streamline the ways that they generate revenue from them.
Are the organisations and individuals that use the developments of the Researchers, and the tools created by the Facilitators, in order to create revenue-generating operations. Although they may come from a technical background, many are non-technical and primarily use ETM as a way to generate an income, with concerns for the technologies themselves being secondary.
The two main challenges that we currently face are the need for the dedication of substantial resources in order to explore all emerging technologies for new potential ETM methods, and the current lack of required software infrastructure to act as bridges to these technologies, such as tools that allow non-coders to create software.
While some technologies already present a wide range of obvious ETM methods such as cryptocurrency and 3d printing, others, such as internet of things or self-driving cars will need a combination of the production of software tools to access the system’s data and network, as well as the commitment of time towards assessing how these tools and data can then be monetized.
A broad process is required, of breaking down and mapping each technology, looking at the monetizable value provided by the different functionalities within them (as well as that of the interactions between the functionalities), forecasting predictable future developments and their monetizability, and then generating outlines for the development of operations that utilize these revenue-generation methods.
Of course this takes time, knowledge and financial resources, however in the processes described above, techniques and business models will be created that will provide new ways of earning an income for millions of people globally – spawning a completely new, geographically-unrestricted industry in the process that rests in the middle of the spheres of emerging technologies, the freelance market, and small business.
For more on ETM: Emerging Tech Monetization (ETM): The Genesis Guide