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Technology disrupting everyday lives

Are you feeling disrupted?

You probably should. Advances in technology are changing how you shop, your transportation, how you communicate, how you work. And the changes will only multiply in the years ahead.

The threats  and opportunities  presented by new technology will be the focus of a free workshop from 1-4 p.m. March 1 in the McCasland Ballroom at Cameron University. It will feature Daniel Burrus, futurist and technology consultant, who will talk about how to "Get Ahead of Digital Disruption."

Stan Booker, who organized the conference, said digital disruption affects practically all phases of Lawtonians' lives, from their work to their businesses and public services.

Retailing provides some stark examples. Booker said online sales accounted for 11 percent of total retail sales in 2016 and that's predicted to grow to 18 percent in 2022. That can mean fewer retail jobs, changes in development and, because city government depends so heavily on sales taxes, reduced funding for services.

A study by the professional services firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 45 percent of work activities can be automated and that 38 percent of all jobs in the United States will be "disrupted" by 2030. What will the advance of self-driving vehicles, for example, mean for the millions of Americans who make a living by driving? Amazon has opened a store without cashiers; Wal-Mart last week officially launched its new Scan & Go system in stores in Lawton and Duncan (two of the only four stores in the state to offer the option). The advance of robotics and artificial intelligence, Booker said, means that jobs in industry ranging from manufacturing to call centers to even home construction may be affected.

But disruption, he said, doesn't have to be all negative because it also creates opportunities for those who can take advantage of them.

In a visit to Lawton last fall, Joe McSharry, Goodyear's vice president for North America consumer manufacturing, said that over the next decade nearly 3.5 million U.S. 

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