THE FUTURE. Are you excited, or are you worried? The next 20 years will bring more change than the previous 300 years. Technology is rebooting the very idea of work, how we work, when we work, where we work, and WHY we work. Computers are no longer stupid; they’re watching, they’re listening, they’re speaking, they’re learning…
Science fiction is becoming science fact, and the End of Routine work is only one of the outcomes. How much of YOUR work is routine? You know… the searching, invoicing, filing, organizing, checking, updating?
Anything that can be automated, digitized or virtualized will be. This is as certain as music is in the cloud, cars are driving themselves, and money is going digital. Automation is reducing the need for rode and manual labor everywhere, and smart machines will soon do the knowledge work as well.
Blue collar, white collar… whatever collar your work is, it is going to be disrupted. Over the next 15 years, almost every technological limitation will virtually vanish.
Imagine unlimited processing power, global access to real-time data, machines that can move around like we do, quantum leaps in battery technology, and even more breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and deep learning. Clearly, competing with such powerful machines on their terms has no future, working like a robot has no future, and learning like a robot has no future - rather, it's a recipe for permanent unemployment!
When artificial intelligence meets human intelligence, it's the end of routine as we know it. But take heart: This is not the end of our jobs, it's not the end of our work, it's not the end of our purpose. Rather, a new age of human-only work is beginning!
Few of us enjoy menial work and boring routines, even if we may like the security that comes with such jobs. Increased automation is a certainty in all industries - but very few jobs are completely automatable and 100% routine. Humans can easily deal with unforeseen events and master complex challenges requiring judgement, intuition and improvisation. Whatever it is easy for a computer is hard for humans, and vice versa - and this will be true for the foreseeable future.
Yes, there is a life beyond automation - if we are prepared, and if we work together. IF governments start to plan for the kind of education and training we really need, and provided we can have a serious conversation about if and how we should tax automation - and what a universal basic income may look like. Imagine a world, maybe in 2030, where we only work three to four hours a day but for the same money, because our machines have taken care of the dreary routines. Picture a world where the cost of energy, water, food and health care is dramatically lower because technology has brought abundance.
See yourself in a future where work is no longer the same as purpose, where we can find purpose in what we can and what we are meant to do, not what we have to do to make a living. What if education actually helped us to discover how we can thrive as humans, not as better robots. What if routine work was replaced by the adventure of vocational careers? What of learning were actually lifelong, and full of reinvention?
Leave your chores to the software and the bots. Focus on those purely human things that are our future. Move up the food-chain to become indispensable in this hyper-connected world. Re-discover those talents and traits that make you unique. As Oscar Wilde once said: Be yourself - everyone else is taken! Become comfortable with being uncomfortable; warm up to the discomfort of permanent evolution.
VUCA is the new normal. We're entering a constant state of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. But you can meet volatility with velocity. You can fight uncertainty with unorthodoxy, you can answer complexity with creativity, and you can defeat ambiguity with awesomeness.
Don't perfect your dying routines and don't let your kids even get started with learning them - downloading information to a 'hard-drive' is a dead end. Instead, train them in understanding, intuition, imagination, foresight, storytelling and empathy. Strong skills in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) will be essential - but achieving excellence in HECI: humanity, ethics, creativity, imagination will become equally decisive. The more we digitize our world, the more human we can and we must become!
The future works differently, but that might be the best thing that ever happened to us!
■ Recorded October 5, 2019 in Sophia Antipolis / France
■ Released January 3 2020.
■ Gerd Leonhard, Executive Producer and Host
■ Produced and directed by Jean Francois Cardella
■ Script by Gerd Leonhard and James McCabe
■ Camera: Jeremy Joly and Julie Stunault (Studio Chamberlin)
■ Motion Design by Sylvain Collet
■ Music by Ricky Bambino (licensed via Audiojungle)
For more details about the coming clash between machine and man visit the website with videos, read previews, images, posts and more.