The Tech industry is not a new sector but its growth curve is trending exponentially. This growth is literally about to explode.
Many consider this as a threat. For example, it is accepted by the New Zealand government that 40% of today’s jobs will not exist in a few short decades. So, that sure sounds like a threat, right? Well yes it does if we hold on to the status quo of staying in non-technical jobs, as we will suffer the accompanying economic and emotional hardships that go with the resulting job losses. A better option is to re-train for employment that supports the operations of robots, AI, VR and the like. Additionally, and generally speaking, many in our community already have problems with employment and financial independence in the present industrial climate, but technology is set to dictate a paradigm shift in employment, finance, commercial opportunities and even currency. So perhaps this is also where the opportunity for better results actually exists.
I believe Tech offers a dual opportunity. The first being that it creates an environment for Pacific to leverage its embodied cultural capital to forge a unique place of value in the new global future. Secondly, a reshaped industrial and economic playing field is in fact an unprecedented equaliser, an opportunity for us to make up lost ground and seize a place of leadership going forward.
So where do we fit and what are the opportunities for us?
Firstly, let’s be quite clear about one thing: Tech is not just for coders. It is a multi-disciplined sector that is full of promise for so many in our community. It is certainly home for those among us that are self-professed geeks that love to write code and create programmes and apps to solve problems, streamline tasks and entertain, but it also beckons to the DNA of the non-coders that make up the majority of our community.
Let’s consider some of Pacific’s strongest attributes. We have survived and flourished as traders, skilled in the art of finding new markets for our wares. Tech needs coders to create new products and services but what’s the future in that if markets are not found for these? We have been entrepreneurs and traders for centuries and so this new wave is the perfect ride for us to leverage this natural ability into the sector. Tech also requires our skills as voyagers, exploring new territories to find existing problems to which the Tech solutions can be applied. This is an opportunity for us to tap into our historic expertise as navigators, to steer the technology in directions others would never think of going. This is where many Tech companies strike true gold. The Tech sector also calls to us as traditional story tellers, designers and musicians so we can use these skills to bring technology to life in the hearts and minds of the people who will buy the Tech. The consumer increasingly demands creativity and fresh experiences on many levels before they recognise new value. Experts on human behaviour and relationships are also needed to refine the tech, to make it intuitive, engaging and a seamless experience for customers. Community values and human interaction are exemplars of Pacific expertise and we have much leadership to offer in this important aspect of the sector. These and many more natural advantages put us at the forefront of the opportunities presented by technology.
We also hold the opportunity to be leaders in the next industrial and economic revolution that will be driven by technology. This offers new frontiers to create real value from our greatest asset – our culture and also to design economic value around it. Community, collaboration, sharing, social networks, reciprocity, exploration…these are the building blocks of today’s Tech leaders who increasingly require fresh and authentic approaches. The Pacific community is the embodiment of such assets. We can leverage this not only for our future prosperity but also to ensure the digital integrity and ownership of the culture. Our culture is increasingly recognised as valuable in its own right and also as a possible commodity in the fight against rising social disconnection and alienation. From this place we can realise the value it represents on the global stage. We even have the opportunity to craft currency that works for us. Digital currency. Paper money hasn’t been a natural transition for us, but it is nearing the end of its life and digital currencies will transform trading. We have the opportunity to re-write how value is exchanged, to link it to the assets we personify and to effectively trade that in a new world of exchange.
Technology is a threat if we sit back and let it roll over us, but if we embrace it and apply our own assets to create “Pacific Tech” in our own image we might just be creating the dawn of a new economic and cultural revolution.