In his latest Intellectual Takeout blog post, “Tech Exec Doomsday Preppers: Protecting Themselves from the Automation Monster They Created,” independent channel broker-dealer recruiter Jon Henschen takes a look at the world of doomsday preppers and finds that the latest practitioners, tech executives, are protecting themselves from the very automation they created.
Henschen’s exploration of the prepper phenomenon begins by recalling “Doomsday Preppers,” an American reality series that ran on the National Geographic channel from 2011 to 2014. The series explored “…the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it.”
A more recent documentary, “Silicon Valley’s Doomsday: Prepping for An Economic Apocalypse,” shows how tech preppers are readying themselves and their families to live out a technological apocalypse in style, complete with bunkers, off-grid homes and guns. These executives are spending anywhere from $200K-400K on the low end to millions on the high end for so-called “billionaire bunkers.”
Henschen observes that unlike earlier preppers, this group fears social unrest, believing that the automation they build to increase productivity is creating massive job loss that will destroy the very economy it created.
According to Henschen, “Name any job or profession, and there is likely a startup tech company working on how to automate it.” The next logical question is, “What professions should be avoided because they are likely to be replaced by robots or software automation?”
To answer, Henschen points to Michael Grothaus’ article, “Bet You Didn’t See This Coming: 10 Jobs That Will Be Replaced by Robots.” Grothaus’ list of jobs he thinks will be hit the hardest includes construction workers, taxi drivers, manufacturing workers and movie stars and journalists. The list also includes insurance underwriters and claims reps and bank tellers. Also likely to be hard hit are financial analysts.
For those in the financial services arena, Henschen observes that the industry is already experiencing robo advisor options, with some wondering if Alexa will soon create clients’ financial plans. An area rarely discussed in broker-dealer circles is what effect will be seen in broker-dealer back-office-operations departments, compliance and other touch points for advisors, according to Henschen. In 10 years, will much of the broker-dealers’ back office be automated?
Henschen also points to Aric Jenkins March 24, 2017 article in Fortune, “Robots Could Steal 40% of US Jobs by 2030,” which cites this vision of the future, “Nearly 40% of US jobs could soon be given to robots, according to a new report from PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC). PwC researchers suggested that automated bots could take nearly 4 in 10 (38%) jobs in the U.S., 30% of jobs in the United Kingdom, 35% in Germany, and 21% in Japan.“
Concluding, Henschen expresses his concern with the tech preppers, questioning, “If the executives who create this automation are so worried that they are preparing for massive civil unrest by prepping with shelters, food stocks and guns, lots of guns, perhaps these job loss estimates are too conservative. What do they know that we don’t?”
Read the full post and get more perspectives here: