Pyeongchang 2018: Where Robots Ski
When it comes to the Winter Olympics and pensions, I can think of more than a few similarities. I could begin by comparing the sport of curling and the role of sweepers to the way in which you can make your pension go further with the help of impartial information and guidance. We could think of a pension just like ski jumping, where the higher up the hill you start - or the earlier you start saving into a pension - the further you’ll fly and the further your pension will take you. We could even imagine that just like in slalom skiing, when it comes to end of year tax planning, it’s important not to miss the gates.
However, one thing that caught my eye was the presence of robot skiers in South Korea. Alongside the Winter Olympics, the South Korean government has been holding a competition for robot skiers. The contest featured teams from universities and companies around the world competing to win a $10,000 prize. One of the most enjoyable jobs I’ve had was working as a ski guide in the French Alps. Although the robots are still clumsily snow-ploughing down the slopes with their creators in tow, watching these skiing robots was a wake-up call. Whilst watching the robots topple over provided me with quite a laugh, the androids are definitely better than some humans I’ve seen attempt the sport. Over the past few decades, the world of work has changed substantially and that change doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon. Who knows, perhaps in a decade or two ski instructors will be one of many jobs humans no longer perform. Although somewhat bizarre in the application of skiing, the wider issue of automation should be considered carefully with technology soon being able to fulfil more human roles.
This got me thinking about planning for my retirement. We all need to think about the kind of jobs we’ll be doing in the future and how this affects our retirement plans. Retirement is looking less like a binary decision that needs to be made at a set age and more like a set of choices that are shaped by the pension savings we have managed to accumulate. Semi-retirement and career changes in later years may become the norm in the future. Until we get there, the best preparation is to save what you can into a pension.