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Future of work.compressed


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For millennia people worked in relative stability with industries sustained by very little change for hundreds of years. Even the industrial revolution saw a high degree of stability after the initial disruption. Mining, foundries, railways, shipping, mills etc employed thousands for a lifetime. This saw the creation of new towns and cities dedicated to major industries and gave rise to the illusion of job security - a notion that persists in many political minds today.

In <50 years that heritage has been swept away by technology and globalisation. The future now belongs to the mobile, the connected, the networkers and the most adaptable. A lifetimes employment in one job in one sector living in one place is rare. Even mining and agriculture are increasingly automated to require fewer people with less muscle and more tech skills. And while the media feature the destruction of jobs and a total takeover by the machines, the empirical evidence shows a growing number of vacancies for the skilled and those educated to adapt to the new needs of an age of robotics and artificial intelligence.

Everybody, every society and country, now face significant challenges in the need to change and adapt to technological advance….

“ Exactly like Mother Nature and biological evolution, technological evolution shows no compassion and no care - it really is about the survival of the most adaptable”

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Future of work.compressed

  1. 1. The Future of Work I n a Te c h n o l o g y D r i v e n A g e Peter Cochrane
  2. 2. Fundamentals Why and how we work ! 1) To satisfy fast evolving needs and aspirations 2) We continually polish and advance our tools and methods to achieve (1) 3) Our ability to advance (2) is now exceeding our ability to change Maslow’s notions remain more or less true with a degree of modification/upgrade
  3. 3. Axiomatic Technology progress - Empowers people to be far more productive - Always creates more jobs than it destroys - Introduces more innovation & creativity - Invokes far more +ve change than -ve - Creates entirely new sectors & jobs - Is the only route to sustainability - Affords people more freedom - Enables equitable societies - Begets more technology
  4. 4. Axiomatic R o b o t s a n d A I A h u g e o p p o r t u n i t y n o t a t h r e a t !
  5. 5. • Government • Education • Banking • Legal A x i o m a t i c Our institutions are always on the back foot
  6. 6. Other Bodies Also fall further behind • Some companies • Political parties • Some sectors • Think tanks • All unions • +++++
  7. 7. Evolution The workplace THE SURVIVAL OF THE MOST ADAPTABLE
  8. 8. C h a n g e The New Stable •Fundamentally driven by technology •Demands more & more resources •Increases population density •Drives up living standards •Creates ever more jobs •Targets sustainability •No sector is immune •Creates new sectors •Always accelerating
  9. 9. Mainstream Internet D i d n o t e x i s t 3 5 y e a r s a g o
  10. 10. Mobile Networks Did not exist 30 years ago
  11. 11. On-Line Retail Did not exist 20 years ago
  12. 12. Social Networks Did not exist 10 years ago
  13. 13. Music Streaming Did not exist 5 years ago
  14. 14. Automation A d v a n c i n g a p a c e We o n l y e m p l o y p e o p l e w h e n t h e y a r e c h e a p e r t h a n r o b o t s Millions of jobs made obsolete and people displaced, but even more new jobs are created
  15. 15. M y o p i a S p e c i a l i s m s “The drive towards increasing specialisation has returned spectacular benefits in education, R&D, knowledge creation, industry, farming and resources whilst clouding the bigger picture and the really important goals”
  16. 16. G e n e r a l i s t s M u l t i - d i s c i p l i n a r y “In a connected and fast moving world we now need people capable of spanning many different disciplines to ‘join the dots’ and create solutions that are immediately effective and have a reasonable longevity”
  17. 17. M y o p i c E d u c a t i o n A continuous stream of students with honed skills and remembered facts for a world that has already died or is on the way out ! “Creativity, innovation and problem solving…. …now trump pure academic attainment”
  18. 18. Re a l i s a t i o n B y o n l y a ve r y f e w “I never let my education interfere with my learning” M a r k Twa i n
  19. 19. S k i l l s S p r e a d The gap between academic and artisan is closing fast! “Every sector and every job is embracing ever more technology and ever more change”
  20. 20. Source: David Deming Harvard J o b S h a re % USA 1980 - 2012 No change Fell Grew
  21. 21. Key Realisation Fundamental to our situation “Everything - our universe, lives and work is non-linear at a fundamental level… ….simple thinking and solutions are generally insufficient and can be dangerous ….. …we are living at a time of surprises and unintended consequences”
  22. 22. C o m p l e x i t y Beyond human ability •Everything is now connected and dynamically changing •The universe is fundamentally chaotic and non-linear •Networked interdependence is expanding globally •The law of unintended consequences is dominant •Past experiences and instinct are unreliable •Simple thinking is increasingly dangerous •Machine augmentation is a future must
  23. 23. “Spanning many disciplines and scenarios to ‘join the dots’ will most likely be best satisfied by a blend of human and machine resources” T h e N e w Po l y m a t h s Complexity exceeding human ability We need a greater diversity of skills, exposures and experiences on a massive scale…the world of the ‘simple’ is long gone!
  24. 24. Frequent high volume tasks Combinatorially complex Logical deductions Vast networking High precision T h e C h a n g i n g B a l a n c e Between human and machine employment Novel problems and solution Constrained networking Adaptable dexterity Abstract thought Beyond logic
  25. 25. New Tech Destroys Jobs Changing the nature of work & employment Lost in my lifetime: Typists Dockers Milkman Blacksmith Secretaries Drawing office Xerox operator Elevator operator Computer operator Telephone operator Comptometer operator Financial report writers ++++ Testers Tasters Analysts Advisors Educators Reporters Strategists Call centres Report writers Personal bankers Personal assistants Answering services Investment bankers Warehouse People Personal Assistant Tech suppor t Stock Trader Receptionist Forecasters Train driver Researcher Journalist Drivers Pilots ++++ Losses yet to come:
  26. 26. Jobs to come: 3/4D Designer Risk Profilers Cyborg Engineer Protein Designer Crime Predictor Digital Historian Information Caretaker Truth Engine Mediator N-D Geometry Analyst Component Repurposer Genome-Protein Activators ++++ Material Programmer Recycling Designers Interface Designers Machine Mediators Wisdom Archivists Genome Designer Material Designer Wisdom Monitors Trouble Shooters Nano-Engineers Bio-Engineers ++++ Jobs to Be enhanced: Leader Mentor Fabricator Geneticist Generalist Proteomist Multi-designer Problem solver Longevity advisor Big Data Analyst Cellular programmer Material programmer ++++ Complexity analysts Security Experts Entrepreneurs Technologists Consultants Architects Detectives Designers Engineers Modellers Scientists Medics ++++ Jobs Created/Enhanced Changing the nature of work & employment
  27. 27. Radical Disruption Already with us and more to come World’s largest telephone company has no network World’s largest retailer has no inventory World’s largest taxi company has no cars World’s movie house has no cinemas World’s largest hotel has no buildings World’s largest software vendor writes no code
  28. 28. N o G o i n g B a c k O u r d e p e n d e n c e i s t o t a l •The technologies of the past cannot sustain ~7Bn people •Industries of the past cannot achieve sustainability •Economic and societal models have to change •Management thinking/practice has to change •The politics of the past will not work Making what we have more efficient only puts off the day of collapse!
  29. 29. Tools Amplify Our Abilities From the hammer and axe to the computer and AI Muscle Mind Make Modify Mend Think Invent Innovate Tools Technology Science Understanding Knowledge
  30. 30. W A R G A M I N G A r t i f i c i a l I n t e l l i g e n c e M odelling Com puter M at e r i a l S c i e n c e Clouds B I G D A T A BYOD BMOB DIY IT Sensors Robots C y b e r Security Nano Bio Some Big Game Changers We have to adapt and adopt faster
  31. 31. Future Work Expansive & amplified Open Inclusive Transparent Merit Based NetworkedDynamic Adaptive Customised ShortTerm AssignmentBased Team Specific Sporadic Call Off SolutionFocussed Multi-Discipline Global Fast Borderless CrossCompany Adaptive RightFirstTime
  32. 32. P e r s p e c t i v e D y n a m i c c h a n g e n o w Silos Drones Ordered Managers Employees Top Down Controlled Insourcing Functionaries Presentations Money Driven Teams Individuals Cha ot ic L e a d e r s Advocates Bottom Up Uncontrolled Outsourcing Problem Solvers P r o t o t y p e s Innovation Led Slow Changing: mass production, assembly line, mining, farming, fishing, food production… Fast Changing: high tech, media, R&D, design, evolving line Customers moving up the design chain
  33. 33. P e r s p e c t i v e C o p i n g w i t h c h a n g e Do what you do best… …and link to the rest Tech yourself complex skills… …and subsume the big ideas
  34. 34. We k n o w w h a t w e d o n ’ t u n d e r s t a n d W e d o n ’ t k n o w w h a t w e d o n ’ t k n o w ! Our Biggest Challenges O u r g r o w i n g c o l l e c t i v e i g n o r a n c e
  35. 35. We cannot predict with any accuracy: - what people will do with new tech - what companies will do with new tech - the creation of new business models/markets Our Biggest Challenges M a n a g i n g t h e p r o c e s s o f c h a n g e We have a dismal record of: - realising smooth societal adaptation - introducing change without massive disruption “We face a future of continual and accelerating change”
  36. 36. resist or Adapt ? The Survival of the fast I n n o v a t o r s I n r e a l i t y w e h a v e n o c h o i c e
  37. 37. Thank You