Makers vs users — how technology changes the game

In most traditional economy, the “ cool guys” were primarily expert users: say, star chefs, great pilots, top surgeons, famous photographers and artists. No-one paid much attention to the kitchen maker or the people who prepared the theater stage. Those things were mostly taken for granted, not seen as the creative part; engineers and designers were a bit better off, but not by far.

New technology changes the game entirely. It's been a while since we really needed a photographer. We enjoy cameras that fly (maybe on a drone) or can resist rugged environments, and everyone looks for the best apps to stitch together a landscape or adjust a picture. We all are willing to be the photographers, provided we get the right support — that is, the right apps, or even a professional retoucher. Apps, in particular, are no longer either a commodity or a luxury. They become the little everyday differentiators in what we do.

As technology evolves, the same transformation we have seen with photography is happening with other aspects of life. With IoT, in particular, things shift a step further. Kitchens no longer differ from each other only based on quality and whether the owner has chosen gas or induction. They can do a lot more, and interact with us in ways more similar to how we work with smartphones. They may dialogue with our phone, the bath tub or our garage door directly. They may even know how to cook and our guests’ preferences better than we do.

Similarly, though it may be hard to admit, somewhere we all know that robots will be more exact than humans in surgery — they already are. Human intelligence and knowledge are now needed to create and instruct them rather than to perform the operation.

The impact is profound, because the creativity and skills are shifting sides. The drone designer and the software programmer who allows us to play with their data become much more relevant than the drone pilot, where there is one. The cool jobs are moving back stage.