Transitions are painful. Look around the globe and some agrarian economy or another is being industrialized. Some blue collar town is moving to a services focus. Robots, drones and machine learning are transforming every industry in the Western economy.
And the naysayers are out in force ruing the transition, painting doomsday scenarios.
They forget humans are very flexible. We adapt and evolve. And the “old” economies do not disappear. See all the innovation happening around agriculture and food in this New Florence category. See manufacturing bounce back in the US. Not the old kind. More IP in components, more automated, cleaner from a pollution and other waste POV.
And look at the challenges that still await our scientists and engineers – climate change, personalized medicine, efficient desalination, asteroid mining, Arctic harvesting etc. Yes, also gridlock in DC :)
I heard Jeff Immelt of GE once summarize his career. He said he has worked on over 100,000 business problems in his varied career. He can talk aircraft engines, blowout preventers, MRI scanners, locomotives. He has met most country leaders and discussed their opportunities. As he said that I thought I saw him twirl an invisible Rubik’s Cube with his hands.
I advise every young person to think like Jeff. Lord knows we have so many problems still left to solve. It will be a long, long time before we run out of opportunities for every human being who is willing to work on something which moves the planet forward in big and small ways.