Much has been written about the rapid rate of technology development and the impacts of digital disruption on business, government and the community.
Today, there are dozens of job roles that didn't exist as little as three years ago -- roles such as data scientists, iPhone and Android app developers, cloud computer specialists and social media marketers have all emerged as a result of new technologies.
However, while these new, more specialised jobs appear, many other roles are disappearing as a consequence of exponential growth in computing power, the rise of intelligent machines and associated changes in business processes.
Over the next 20 years, this process is expected to accelerate with 47 per cent of existing jobs at risk of being replaced by technology, according to a 2013 paper by Michael Osborne and Carl Benedikt Frey of Oxford University. They identified roles in administration, finance, legal, customer service and education as most likely to be affected.'
In a recent TED talk, MIT's Andrew McAfee pointed to a steady decline in overall employment in the US, particularly amongst blue collar workers whose jobs are rapidly being eliminated as technology revolutionises business.
The commercial introduction of robotic tools, androids and driverless cars over the next decade will exacerbate this trend.
And it's not just in the US. Earlier this year, Hitachi conducted successful trials of a self-steering robotic tractor at rice fields in Jerilderie in western NSW, using satellite technology to guide the tractor along a clearly defined path.
So how do we prepare for this brave new world where many of today's job roles disappear?
To better understand the implications for the Australian economy and job market, the ACS is one of the partner organisations working with the CSIRO, undertaking a Future of Work research project which will be released early next year.
Even now, some trends are evident. Advances in disruptive technologies like mobile computing, the cloud, big data/analytics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, social media, advanced robotics and artificial intelligence are driving the changes and these will continue to be areas of huge opportunity.
However, our internal research suggests that, in addition to keeping their technical knowledge up to date, professionals working with these technologies will also need to develop greater social intelligence, collaboration and adaptive thinking, problem-solving, and cross-cultural and cross-industry competencies.
For the broader workforce, greater competence with technology will be mandatory. Our advice to our members and other ICT professionals is simple: you must manage your own career, which means future-proofing yourself by staying informed about emerging trends, keeping your skills and knowledge up to date, and proactively managing your brand in the marketplace.