TED Talk: “Are droids taking our jobs?” — Yes, but also making new ones.


hen you start programming smartphone apps, you start thinking about the impact you’re going to have. And make no mistake: they’re going to have a huge impact.

Check out this interesting new TED talk about how human workers are going out of style, thanks to things like smartphone apps.

He concludes that, with these technological developments, the biggest industry is going to be the programming and computer science industry—the people who design the software and tell the robots what to do.

Our personal favorite line from this video: “Nobody cares where these kids grew up, where they went to school or what they look like. All anyone cares about is the quality of the work—the quality of the ideas.”

And he brings up an interesting topic for you to consider. Knowledge workers—what are they? A knowledge worker is just like it sounds: it’s someone who thinks for a living. That includes lawyers, doctors and scientists, but to us that sounds an awful like “engineers and computer scientists.” Because, chew on this, they’re the makers.

Lawyers, doctors and scientists do a lot of great work. They’re great professions to have. (Really!) But the majority of their work involves researching what has happened in the past. Engineers and computer scientists? They look to the future, and get to decide what happens in the future.

We’re going through a revolution a lot like the one that took place in the late 1700s. We’ve said it before: don’t just ride the wave. Surf it and push it to its limits.

Program your way to a good career: what makes a good app.

While it’s unrealistic to believe that just anyone can go out, make some app, and get rich, it’s always cool to see those stories. Learning about what kinds of apps get instant success can help aspiring programmers figure out what sorts of features make an app good.

Here’s what we’re seeing: apps designed for Web 3.0, the socialized web, are what are successful. Integrating social sites and services like Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Tumblr, Flickr, and several other ‘er’ websites let’s people share what they’re doing, which people like to do.

A 5-week-old app called Draw Something has over 20 million downloads, and is reportedly making six figures a day. Not bad. It’s a social game which integrates with Twitter (see?), and there are some impressive stats to read in this Business Insider article.

Today we’re talking business. Money. We’re saying that, even if you can’t strike gold and make a super-successful app like this, apps are a quickly-growing market, and it’s easy to get started. Check out our Read On section for some handy resources.

The last app we know of that got this kind of success was Words With Friends, another social game. This one chose to integrate with Facebook.

If there’s one thing to learn from all this, it’s that the success of these apps was definitely helped by their social integration. Humans are naturally very social, and we either like competing, showing off, or simply sharing. Even if you’re not making a game, think of a useful way to socially integrate what you program. Because social integration is the current trend of the internet. It’s Web 3.0.

Read on: