For the past few years, the Internet of Things, robots, and automation have been on the minds of Connecticut's employers.
That's because rapidly developing technology represents the prospect of significant disruption in the marketplace and the workplace.
"Everything will change so fast," technology writer and TV correspondent David Pogue told about 650 business leaders Nov. 2 at CBIA's Annual Meeting in Hartford.
"Everybody agrees there will be fewer people doing today's jobs, but the question is, 'what do we do then?'" Pogue asked. "That's where people disagree.
"The pessimists say it's going to be people laying around with their devices. But others say it's foolish to think we will be doing nothing."
Pogue pointed to David Autor, an MIT economist.
'Change Is Inevitable'
"He has a very different perspective on this.
"He said, 'yes, today's jobs will be done by robots, but it's stupid to think that people will be doing nothing.'
“And he makes this great point: 100 years ago, 40% of the American population were farmers. Today it's 2%.
"We don't know what we'll be doing, but we'll be doing something.
"Every new invention is scary. No one can predict the future, but change is inevitable.
"Somehow, we always muddle through.
"Whatever happens, this much I can promise you: It's going to be a wild ride."
Pogue, a Connecticut resident, kept the crowd entertained and laughing during an informative hour-long talk on the current and future state of technology.
State Capitol's 'New Dynamic'
He was introduced by CBIA president and CEO Joe Brennan, who spoke of the new dynamic at the state Capitol, one CBIA helped usher in with independent expenditures during the 2016 elections.
"We targeted 14 seats in the House and Senate and put in a lot of our own money to do that—and not a nickel of it went to a candidate," Brennan said.
"We were successful in 11 of the 14 races and, as a result, there's much more balance in the General Assembly."
That, in turn, forced lawmakers to do something they don’t normally do—compromise and seek bipartisan solutions.
It resulted in a bipartisan budget that closes a massive deficit with no major tax increases and includes some structural changes CBIA and its members have long sought.
Every new invention is scary. No one can predict the future, but change is inevitable.
He added that CBIA will again be active during the 2018 statewide elections.
John Ciulla, CBIA board chair and president of Webster Bank, said CBIA succeeded by backing "legislators who had demonstrated a track record of supporting reasonable and responsible policies that will improve the state’s economy."
"CBIA membership is critically important for Webster and can be a powerful affiliation for all Connecticut businesses that want to engage in economic policy discussions in the state," he added.
Generation Gap Widens
Pogue, a father of three, said the so-called generation gap between parents and children has always existed—and the smart phone has only widened it.
"I don't know why people even call it a phone," he said.
"Those of you who have children know that the last thing they'll do with this is talk on it. It doesn't happen. My kids would not return a call if I paid them."
He spoke of the smart phone and how it's spawned a bevy of industries and jobs.
And he said the most important components inside the smart phone are its many sensors, some as small as a pinhead, that enable the device.
"The part that people miss is that it's all about the sensors inside this thing," he said. "There are 35 sensors inside an iPhone. They are the key to so many industries."
Pogue discussed augmented reality, which he says surpasses virtual reality in quality and is being used in a variety of ways, from Pokemon Go, to using your phone as a measuring tape, to applications that allow consumers to see how a piece of furniture will look inside their home.
In fact, he said, the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine recently ended the use of cadavers, replacing them with an application that allows students to learn physiology using AR.
Afterward, Pogue spent time with several students from the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology at Hartford Public High, discussing technology and various smartphone applications.