Bah! Who Needs These Pesky Humans Anyway!!??
I think it’s ironic that we are seeing such a rise is labor-saving technology, i.e. Blockchain, and that we’re also in times when so many people need jobs. Seriously now…how many people really think blockchain is going to put more of those people to work?
I’m a bit skeptical. It might turn out that the people who lost their jobs from all the McDonalds automation will now be able to meet the very same in the unemployment office lines that they used to service at the drive-through window at McDonalds.
It was just today that I became conscious of this aspect of the dawning blockchain revolution. Although cryptocurrency is the area that most people associate with blockchain technology, when one looks deeper into the news, one finds that the banking and finance industry loves blockchain too.
Because it’s not only going to make much of their work more secure and accurate, it’s also going to allow them to eliminate a lot of jobs. One quote I pulled from the internet phrased it this way:
“a way to validate transactions through little or no human intervention.”
Yeah sure….humans are known for being terrible interventionists, right?
Undoubtedly there are reasonable applications of blockchain technology to provide better value to the consumer. Everybody complains about paperwork and bureaucracy in finance…and government.
Waitta minute!! Did I just say…GOVERNMENT??
Now there’s a niche that’s ripe for elimination of waste and bureaucracy!! (not to mention good ol’ “corruption”.
In fact, there probably is a dividing line somewhere… a demarcation between where blockchain is a net improvement vs a net detriment to the employment situation. But I don’t think anybody is putting much consideration into where that line is…right now.
But for the number crunchers in the financial services sector, blockchain comes at a good time. Their industry has become extremely competitive. It has been forced to become very service intensive because they’ve pretty much long since reached the limits of what they can do with bland numbers.
They all work with the same commodity and within the same mathematical system and to a large degree they even work with the same data. So, their only recourse (other than ‘inside deals’) is to try to focus on internal efficiency and creative branding.
Blockchain is good for them but not necessarily for the thousands of people who will be ‘liberated’ from the drudgery of their mere “jobs”.
Blockchain is specifically attractive to bankers because it tends to alleviate what they call their “Liquidity” challenges.
The term liquidity refers to the degree to which an asset or security can be quickly bought or sold in the market without affecting the asset's price and this is a growing concern in financial product trading activity. Blockchain technology can alleviate liquidity challenges by providing a way to reduce friction.
What is ‘friction’?
Friction simply refers to the limitation or resistance injected into a process by another factor, i.e. from paper-shuffling or other bureaucratic processes. Blockchain, because it automates so many of these processes, reduces ‘friction’ and improves the bottom line of the company.
Money (or Value) is everywhere, therefore buying and selling is (potentially) everywhere, therefore transactions are (potentially) everywhere. Thus, because blockchain is a decentralized technology, it can reside in decentralized devices much closer to where the actual work is being done and increase the speed that work is processed (and verified).
Thus allowing everyone more time to wander to…whatever.
Some very complex transactions might still require more humans in the loop. In fact, this whole process might go ‘full circle’ and human verification might eventually turn out to be an extra added service.
But the reality of blockchains and how they’re being used points to a future in which human third-party transaction validation and recordkeeping could be the exception rather than the rule.
Ain’t technology wonderful?