Three of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money, Business/Entrepreneurship, and Technology. Like every other facet of life, technology has changed the entire landscape of business. Many of our new technological innovations have freed up the minds of entrepreneurs from the simpler tasks and are now allowing them to focus on the more critical aspects of their enterprises. The following contributed post is thus entitled; How Technology Is Freeing Up Entrepreneurs’ Cognitive Resources.
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Entrepreneurs have to think about a lot of things on any given day. Some of those things are profound and uniquely human, but a big chunk of it is formulaic and not particularly exciting. What’s interesting, however, is that technology is increasingly taking over much of the grunt work, freeing up entrepreneur’s cognitive resources.
Over the last couple of decades, technology – especially digital technology – has improved enormously. But not, with the advent of artificial intelligence, we see the emergence of machines which can perform cognitive tasks. For a while, smart software has been able to do things like reading handwriting – helpful for keeping a record of expenses – but today’s AI is moving far beyond that to do more sophisticated things, giving business leaders more time to focus on the things that matter.
Take the cloud, for instance. Managed IT services mean that businesses no longer have to worry about providing their own IT solutions. All that’s required for most companies today is an internet connection and a few notebooks connected to the network. In many cases, it’s no more sophisticated than a setup you might find at home. All the servers, admin, security and updates get done automatically, off-site by professionals who have a deep understanding of what they’re doing.
The role of the cloud shouldn’t be underestimated. It means that entrepreneurs don’t have to wrestle with IT issues in the same way as they did before. There’s no need to troubleshoot networking problems or do anything of these non-business critical activities. Founders are free to pursue the ideas which matter most to their business – they can deal more directly with their customer’s needs.
Artificial intelligence helps too. Although powerful applications of the technology are still relatively new, they’re helping those at the top of business automate much more of the dull, day-to-day stuff that needs to get done to run a business. Accounting apps, for instance, have made it so that small businesses no longer need to spend hours filing away receipts or calculating VAT. Instead, it’s all done automatically by the app with minimal user input using AI technologies. AI is also helping businesses with their customer service, with things like chatbots on their websites. Chatbots can provide customers with timely information on a range of issues without ever having to use the resources of real people in the business. These automated, website-based programmes can answer most questions.
Other technologies, like RSS feeds, are also reducing the difficulty of doing research. Articles posted straight to one’s feed reduces search time and conveniently provides updates.
The Long-Term Trends
This trend of freeing up entrepreneurial time for the most creative and high-value-added activities is set to continue. Economists at the University of Oxford suggest that the majority of formulaic work – stuff that can be broken down into a series of tasks – will be automated by smart software over the next twenty years. Thus, technology, in their opinion, will reduce the value of doing rote work and increase the earning potential of entrepreneurs with creative flair.