Wednesday, October 31, 2018


Any day now, if you are still working, there’s a good chance a robot will do your job. Really? – you’re saying to yourself. Artificial intelligence (AI) is coming and there’s not much we can do to stop it (maybe pulling the plug or removing the batteries?).

If your job involves making simple decisions and repetitive tasks, a robot may be doing it in two to three years. They (I’m using pronouns to talk about robots…what does that tell you) will do payroll, review contracts, copy data to storage and handle simple insurance claims. They are already building cars so what did you expect? You just have to hope motor vehicle departments are not staffed by robots. On second thought, robots don’t need coffee breaks and have no incentive to slow down in order to convince supervisors that the job cannot be done any faster. Bring on the bots!

The upside, if you want to look up, is that AI has the potential to greatly enhance the lives of those of us whose work involves a lot of human interaction and judgement. We can continue to interact with other humans while robots reduce the drudgery of repetitive tasks (now we’re back to payroll and basic computer tasks). Imagine how much more productive you could be if you didn’t have update software, organize files, and make breakfast. AI will in fact add new jobs as more people will need to get involved in programming the robots to add more capabilities. Lots of job openings for bot wranglers coming soon.

The other promising factor is that when push comes to shove, humans prefer humans. It’s very unlikely that any of us will want to meet with a robotic therapist, CPA or dentist. Deep down, we crave human interaction even though there are an awful lot of humans who are just plain awful. Most of us would still opt for the human interaction over the robotic one.

So what do you do if your job is threatened by AI? Start thinking about moving into careers that call for skills such as selling, negotiating, strategic thinking, and creative design. And soon. Those bots are persistent. They don’t know how to behave any other way.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, Head Above Water which can be purchased on Amazon here. You can also visit his author page here.

Monday, October 15, 2018


I ran into Leonardo da Vinci the other day. He was coming out of Home Depot with a shopping cart filled with baling wire, plastic sheeting and what looked like copper flashing.

Leo, come stai? Have not seen you in ages. Are you working on a new painting or building some kind of new flying machine? Last time we met you were still not happy with the smile on that Lisa woman.

Art is never finished, only abandoned.

Well I know you’ll get it right, you always do. So what’s the latest on the flying machines?

When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.

You amaze me Leo. You’re always tinkering and experimenting.

Learning never exhausts the mind.

Maybe so, but your curiosity is relentless. I don’t know how you do it.

As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.

Hey, don’t go all dark on me. You paint, you invent, you write, you’re into astronomy, botany and cartography. You’re a true Renaissance Man, don’t you think?

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.

That’s very true but you seem to be a whirlwind when it comes to inventions and dreaming up new gadgets. I wish I had your inspiration and your diligence.

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

And do you do. You never were one to rest on your laurels.

It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

Hey, are you still hanging with that art patron, Isabella d’Este? She’s a looker, maybe marriage material.

Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.

Whoa! It’s not for you, I get it. I just hope you take some time out to enjoy yourself, some me time.

It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.

And that is why you’re the genius and I’m just another blogger. Good to see you Leo. Keep it real.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, Head Above Water which can be purchased on Amazon here. You can also visit his author page here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Flight of the Boomers

When people move to a new state it’s typically for a new job. But baby boomers are retiring and they don’t care about jobs (unless they have to work forever, but we’ll come back to that). So where are boomers moving? That’s the question that United Van Lines asks every year, and this year baby boomers are confounding the typical migration pattern.

Southern states and Florida used to be the go to retirement venues, but now the mountain states and the Pacific northwest are bucking the trend. Go West ye boomers! Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming are seeing a 55% uptick to in-bound migration. Fifty-two percent of the movement in the Pacific northwest was in-bound.

So if boomers are not heading for Florida, where are they going? In order, here’s the top ten list of states: Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado and Alabama.

And where are they moving from? New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts top the list. It’s interesting to note however, that the largest exodus due to finding jobs elsewhere was the South. The number one reason to move is still for a new job, followed by one in five families who chose to move in 2017 to be closer to family. In third spot was retirement.

And for those looking to retire, the top ten destinations were: Florida, Nevada, South Carolina, Arizona, Maine, Vermont, Wyoming, Delaware, Arkansas, and New Mexico.

More fun facts: The average person moves 5 times in their lifetime. It takes on average 182 days before you unpack the last box from the move.

Now to get back to who is not moving. There is no flight for boomers who find themselves still on the job, not by choice but of necessity. There’s no escape to a warm clime for those who are holding on to the same job in order to try and save enough for a decent retirement. Sorry to end on that sad note, but we need to recognize that many of our fellow boomers won’t be counted in next year’s United Van Lines survey, or the year after that. No flight. More like fight. To survive in retirement on Social Security alone. The big reckoning is coming for them and for all of us who will need to help them age in place with some dignity.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, Head Above Water which can be purchased on Amazon here. You can also visit his author page here.