Disappearing act for technology industry

For those of us who make our living in some way from the information technology industry (which should mean most of the people reading this) then the news that our industry is going to “disappear” within the next 25 years may seem a little disconcerting.

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By  Peter Branton Published  March 5, 2006

|~|Fiorinabody.jpg|~|Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP, has predicted the ‘end’ of the IT industry. |~|For those of us who make our living in some way from the information technology industry (which should mean most of the people reading this) then the news that our industry is going to “disappear” within the next 25 years may seem a little disconcerting. However, that is just what one of the IT industry’s most famous representatives claimed the other day: Carly Fiorina, former CEO of HP, to be exact. Speaking at the Global Business Forum in Sydney, Australia, last month, Fiorina told the audience that the technology industry will disappear by the year 2030. For those of us not planning to retire before then (which may well not be all of the people reading this) that warning may seem a bit daunting. Then again, she did also think that buying Compaq was a good idea and that one didn’t work out for her. What the former most powerful businesswoman in the world (as Ms Fiorina was wont to be called before the HP board decided to dispense with her services) was actually getting at does seem quite interesting though. She wasn’t saying that IT is going to go away, rather that it is set to become so integral to our daily life that we will take it for granted. “We have entered the main event of technology,” she told the audience. “We are talking about an era where technology is woven into the fabric of life and almost disappears. It means that technology is in everything and everywhere,” she claimed. The dot.com bust had represented “the end of the beginning” for the IT industry, Fiorina stated. This view seems to fit with what many in the industry, including Fiorina’s former employer, are promoting as the natural next step for IT, that it becomes all-pervasive. Many technology firms would positively welcome the average user looking on technology as a utility that they take for granted: provided they keep on paying for it regularly of course. But perhaps, we are taking the wrong approach after all, if some recently-released research is to be believed. While the positive benefits of technology have been widely cited as driving the economic growth the world has experienced over the past decade or so, it may actually be making working life harder, not easier. While US workers in a 1994 study estimated they managed to complete three quarters of their work in an average day, a similar study last year showed that workers claimed to only get two-thirds done in the course of a normal working day. And, far from speeding up productivity, computers get the blame for slowing everything down. In 1994, workers averaged 9.5 hours a week staring at their monitor: last year it was almost 16 hours. Chuck in the 46 e-mails the average worker gets each day, nearly half of which he or she didn’t want, and it is easy to see where the problem lies. For some of us, perhaps technology just can’t go quickly enough. ||**||

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