The pace of technological innovation is speeding up at an ever increasing rate. This is bringing unprecedented and incredibly rapid changes to the economy and society at large, particularly in the job market. Automation is removing jobs like never before, while comparatively few new jobs are being created by the new digital economy. This might be one of the greatest challenges that we've ever faced, but it could also represent our biggest opportunity. What can people and companies do right now to avoid being swept away by the exponentially increasing technologies that are coming to the market? What can governments do to provide for their people? What will be the future of work and of society? What will the transition look like, who will benefit from it, and who will be left behind?
Computers have been an important part of many industries for decades already and have replaced humans in many jobs. But a new wave of technological development means that even positions that we once saw as immune to computerisation are now under threat.
The industrial model with lifetime single-employer careers is dying, and not coming back. The first sign was a change from lifetime-marriage employments into its serial-monogamy equivalent, where people change jobs every three years at the most. The next change in progress is that most people have more than one employment — or employment-equivalent — at one time: this is an enormous change to society, where people are juggling five to ten projects at a time, some for fun, some for breadwinning, some for both.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: RICK FALKVINGE
Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy
The fundamental nature of the changes we see all around us demands changes in how people think and act, lead and manage. This extends to how enterprises respond, react and adjust to a completely new environment. While today’s successful companies are becoming “service first,” they are also looking to integrate services with products, and to create devices — products with services and content built in. In essence, their businesses have to integrate devices and services because the service has to be delivered, improved or analyzed via some object. As the nature of this new objective becomes clearer, and as global competition intensifies, companies are pursuing radical adjacencies in order to seek and execute on opportunities beyond their core business. This introduces the concept of a fluid core, which executives can adapt to suit circumstances and opportunities.
By Haydn Shaughnessy, in association with Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work
Economist Andrew McAfee suggests that, yes, probably, droids will take our jobs -- or at least the kinds of jobs we know now. In this far-seeing talk, he thinks through what future jobs might look like, and how to educate coming generations to hold them.
Andrew McAfee studies how information technology affects businesses and society.
Kicking off the TED2013 conference, Jennifer Granholm asks a very American question with worldwide implications: How do we make more jobs? Her big idea: Invest in new alternative energy sources. And her big challenge: Can it be done with or without our broken Congress?
What impact will automation – the so-called “rise of the robots” – have on wages and employment over the coming decades? Nowadays, this question crops up whenever unemployment rises. In the early nineteenth century, David Ricardo considered the possibility that machines would replace labor; Karl Marx followed him. Around the same time, the Luddites smashed the textile machinery that they saw as taking their jobs. Then the fear of machines died away. New jobs – at higher wages, in easier conditions, and for more people – were soon created and readily found. But that does not mean that the initial fear was wrong. On the contrary, it must be right in the very long run: sooner or later, we will run out of jobs. For some countries, this long-run prospect might be uncomfortably close. So, what are people to do if machines can do all (or most of) their work?
It may be hard to believe, but before the end of this century, 70 percent of today’s occupations will likewise be replaced by automation. Yes, dear reader, even you will have your job taken away by machines. In other words, robot replacement is just a matter of time. This upheaval is being led by a second wave of automation, one that is centered on artificial cognition, cheap sensors, machine learning, and distributed smarts. This deep automation will touch all jobs, from manual labor to knowledge work.
“Many of us will live to see the day where we have physical, non-human colleagues,” says Matt Beane, a researcher at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Beane’s research addresses what he calls “The Avatar Economy”, where remote workers operate robots. Such robots are already used for tasks which require highly skilled labour and physical presence but where it’s either too dangerous or extremely expensive to use human beings. Aerial and ground-based robots were used in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, for example, to help assess system and structural integrity and evaluate demolition plans. According to Beane, the next wave of robotic workers will be in retail, security and remote supervision of manufacturing operations. Telepresence robots like those made by DoubleRobotics (and their human operators) will help you to find the right TV in a retail store or allow an operations supervisor in Chicago to do quality control on an assembly line in Shanghai.
Robots and algorithms are getting good at jobs like building cars, writing articles, translating -- jobs that once required a human. So what will we humans do for work? Andrew McAfee walks through recent labor data to say: We ain't seen nothing yet. But then he steps back to look at big history, and comes up with a surprising and even thrilling view of what comes next.
Everyone agrees that some jobs for humans will be lost to robots, and some jobs for humans will be created because of robots. But there is a growing debate about the math. Will the robotics revolution be an aggregate job creator or job killer for humans?
Artificial intelligence is an ever evolving goal for researchers, and the object of endless fascination for writers, filmmakers, and the general public. But despite our best science fiction visions, creating digital intelligence is incredibly difficult. The universe is a very complicated place, and humans have had millions of years to evolve the ability to navigate and make sense of it. Contemporary attempts to create AI have us looking more at how our own brains work to see how a computer could simulate the core activities that create our intelligence. No matter how we get there, it is certain that artificial intelligence will have tremendous impact on our society and economy, and lead us down a path towards evolving our own definitions of humanity.
Robots began replacing human brawn long ago—now they’re poised to replace human brains. Moshe Vardi, a computer science professor at Rice University, thinks that by 2045 artificially intelligent machines may be capable of “if not any work that humans can do, then, at least, a very significant fraction of the work that humans can do.”
Fifteen years ago Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in a game of chess, marking the beginning of what Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Erik Brynjolfsson calls the new machine age—an era driven by exponential growth in computing power. Lately, though, people have been feeling uneasy about the machine age. Pundits and experts seem to agree that the robots aredefinitely taking our jobs. At last week’sTED conference, Brynjolfsson argued that the new machine age is great for economic growth, but we still have to find a way to coexist with the machines.
Imagine, as 19th-century utopians often did, a society rich enough that fewer and fewer people need to work — a society where leisure becomes universally accessible, where part-time jobs replace the regimented workweek, and where living standards keep rising even though more people have left the work force altogether. If such a utopia were possible, one might expect that it would be achieved first among the upper classes, and then gradually spread down the social ladder. First the wealthy would work shorter hours, then the middle class, and finally even high school dropouts would be able to sleep late and take four-day weekends and choose their own adventures — “to hunt in the morning,” as Karl Marx once prophesied, “fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner ...” Yet the decline of work isn’t actually some wild Marxist scenario.
John Hagel: "If you have tightly scripted jobs that are highly standardized where there's no room for individual initiative or creativity, machines by and large can do those kinds of activities much better than human beings. They're much more predictable. They're much more reliable. We as human beings have flaws. We tend to get distracted. We tend to go off into unexpected areas. "
Manufacturing the future: The next era of global growth and innovation, a major report from the McKinsey Global Institute, presents a clear view of how manufacturing contributes to the global economy today and how it will probably evolve over the coming decade.
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