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It's the End of the Entrepreneurial Era As We Know It

There is no doubt that we are coming to the end of an iconic era that has seen the huge exponential growth of entrepreneurialism.

Since the dotcom boom of the millennium, the success of TV shows like Shark Tank, The Apprentice, and Dragons' Den (which I have appeared on), have fueled an army of hungry, aspiring people who have immersed themselves into the risk-laden, opportunistic, exciting, stressful, yet independent, world of the entrepreneur.

With more than 500 million entrepreneurs and 150 million startups worldwide, we are in a time that has witnessed the unprecedented rise and evolution of independent business and entrepreneurship.

There was a period I remember growing up, where most people couldn't spell the word entrepreneur. When I was a teenager, I would describe myself as one. Although it sounded exotic and cool, most at that time, people didn't understand what I did or the value in it.

But today, my aunt, my cousin, my grandma, and my niece are all proud entrepreneurs. No matter a person's age or demographics, the barrier to entry has dropped considerably with the rise of technology, and entrepreneurship has seen huge hype, becoming the buzzword of the century.

But is that all about to change with the rise of AI?

The human cost of too much convenience

In my day, being an entrepreneur meant a person had to work super hard, often harder than anyone around them. The early bird gets the worm. Go to sleep late, rise early. Never take your eye off the ball. Those were the go-to phrases of my time. Passion, determination and resilience were the only things that could ensure success in any given climate.

Today, being an entrepreneur seems to be as easy as twiddling your thumbs and clicking (or swiping) on a few buttons on an app on a smartphone. Hard work? Unlikely! Just click the right settings or prompts and 'Voila!' let the machine do the hard work!

Humans were born with the anatomy and physique to be hunters, gatherers, lumberjacks, climbers, and runners. We were blessed to be physically active and agile. Unfortunately, the human race has just been through an entire century of changing those mannerisms into becoming desk-bound, delivery-service complacent hermits.

That, in itself, is going to have seismic changes to mankind for decades and centuries to come.

Yes AI, can write a dissertation for you, and order your concert tickets. Machines are undoubtedly going to make life more convenient, cut down wasted time, and increase efficiency, but what will they do to our physique, our minds, and our psyche? Our determination and our cognitive ability need to be challenged with complex physical and mental tasks daily in order to fight off aging and dementia.

Even with the most basic of tasks in our lives, such as driving from one place to another, we leave it to the machines to work it out. As we all know when the GPS signal is lost, without knowing the routes in our brains, we are lost. This doesn't work out well both in emergencies and for the cognitive and evolution of our mind and psyche.

Can we be independent free thinkers when technology is leading so much of the decision-making?

What does being an entrepreneur mean today?

Is a person truly an entrepreneur, when all they did was click a button and the rest of it was automated? If they built the hardware, software, and automation themselves? Then in my eyes, it's clearly entrepreneurial. But if another created the machine and they used it, are they really an entrepreneur?

Having produced and directed many TV shows exploring and exposing advanced tech and innovation positively, I am clearly bullish on our technologically supercharged future. But let's be honest with ourselves, machines, automation, robots, and computers, whilst giving us certain abilities, take away many natural human functions that are fundamental to the cognitive abilities and needs of a human being.

According to a new study , over-usage of technology severely damages the brain systems connecting emotional processing, attention and decision-making. The findings link technology overload to anxiety, severe depression and suicide.

People worry about robots taking our jobs or taking over completely, but I worry about humans generally becoming disadvantaged, lazier, dumber and unhealthier as a consequence of having advanced technologies.

As Garry Kasparov, the first Chess Champion to lose to a machine once said "We need better humans, not less technology"

Where does true entrepreneurship lie when everything becomes automated and rests with the founders of those technologies?

Humans are highly adaptive and innovative, and we will adapt to the sharp integration of technology and machines into our world, but it's fundamental that we remain one step ahead of the machines, keeping in the know and always stepping up to do the hard work.

The key to a sustainable and successful future is to ensure we synergize and synchronize with machines, and nurture our natural abilities, hone our strengths, exercise our bodies and our minds, and not become complacent to exterior technological capabilities and resources.

Thomas Edison 's formula "Genius is 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration" is still correct today. Even though the machines may end up doing 90 of the manual labor, it doesn't mean we can rest on just 10 percent inspiration.

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