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Technology for society (9)

Ike Señeres .

 

9th of a series

IN the computing world, there is a general consensus that content is king, and in the end, everything will just be about content. For sure, Sony Corporation did not buy Columbia Pictures for the real estate, but for the film libraries, in other words the content. Same goes for Disney buying Fox, it is all about content. As it normally happens however, infrastructure appears to be more important than content, because it attracts the most attention, and it seems to be more valuable. In reality however, infrastructure becomes depreciated, while the value of content keeps on appreciating. Much more than that, infrastructure becomes obsolete, while content is often updated, and sometimes it is even remade or reproduced.

In the midst of questions as to which is more important between content and infrastructure, I am pushing forward the argument that manpower is more important than the two, because without manpower, content could not be created, and infrastructure could not be maintained. Even if it could be said that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning could create more content without the use of manpower, it could not be denied that the content created would still have to be hosted in an infrastructure than would require manpower to maintain. As much as manpower is really the most important component of the computing world, there are still a lot of questions as to how it could be supplied, in other words how the numbers could be produced.

Since our topic is about using technology for society, I would go right ahead to say that all those working in the field of manpower for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector are already doing something good for society, simply by doing their jobs, because ICT is a critically needed sector that the society could not do without. Much more than that however, the ICT sector is good for the country, because it creates jobs that in turn increase prosperity and reduce poverty. That said, we should conclude without much hesitation that both the government and the private sector should invest not only in content and infrastructure, but also in manpower. That is of course easier said than done, because unlike content and infrastructure that could be bought by money, manpower could not be bought by money, at least not directly.

It has been said that in the near future, most of human activity within the commerce of man will have one form of e-commerce or another. There is also another saying that in the near future, a businessman who will not utilize e-commerce will not be in commerce anymore, because he or she will surely be left out. Assuming that these two predictions will become true, we could reasonably predict that in the near future, most of the jobs will be e-commerce related or in other words, it will be ICT manpower related. If that is really going to be the case, we should already start changing our educational system so that it will produce the ICT manpower that would meet the needs of the future, or the near future as it would seem. Since this is going to affect all levels of our educational system, there is really no other place to start but from upstream, from the grade school level.

In the circles where I circulate within the computing world, there is already a lot of talk about teaching every child how to write code, in much the same way that we would teach them to write letters and numbers. To be practical about it however, we could perhaps not expect every child to become a programmer but at the very least, our future generations of children would understand computing in general, and coding in particular. About the latter, what I really mean is to understand what coding is and how it works, because there are many other fields of expertise that would require this kind of an understanding. For example, a designer of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) has to understand how coding works, in order to come up with a good UI/UX design.

I really do not know who is supposed to be doing it, but as I see it, somebody should be tracking and studying trends in the job market, to be able to plan ahead how to make our educational goals become aligned with the demands of the job market. For example, there is already a growing trend wherein voice services are now shifting towards data services and what that means is that the number of call centers could become lesser. That may not entirely be bad news however, because what could happen is that the call center agents will just be replaced by technical support staff that will not necessarily talk to customers, but would do various functions in the backend. Hopefully, the business process outsourcing model will survive, it would just be the type of services that would change.

 

E-mail: iseneres@yahoo.com

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TREND MAKER. Mindanao Gold Star Daily was established in 1989 to set ablaze a new meaning & flame to the local newspaper business. Throughout the years it continued its focus and interest in the rural areas & pioneered the growth of countryside journalism.

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