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The Road Ahead – How to Become Smart About the Future

By Dean Whittaker

We are living in a time of transition as we move from one economy to the next. As with other times of transition (e.g. agricultural to industrial, industrial to knowledge, and now knowledge to digital), it brings rapid change, disruption, challenges, and opportunities.

So what will work look like in 2032? Will we wake up and consult our “Alexa AI” (Amazon Echo) that will have scanned the morning work opportunities sent to us during the night by the AI Economic Administration, providing short-term work opportunities (i.e. day knowledge worker) based on our skill set, work history, and genetic psychological profile? There is no need commute or leave our dwelling as the work will be sent to us and compensation credited to our account once completed.

Breakfast is prepared by our replicator (3-D printer) and includes the genetically modified food to fit our body’s need to stay healthy based on the urine analysis taken that morning.

Since we need to sharpen our skills continuously, we log in to our AI teacher for today’s course session on learning Mandarin. By 2031, 60% of all work opportunities are offered by Chinese-government-owned-entities abroad and in the former United States. (Yes, we are being colonized by the Chinese).

Sounds far-fetched? Actually, it is happening now. The early adopters have become “digital nomads.” Check out this list of tools they use to live their nomadic lifestyle free of geographic constraints. One of the books they recommend is The 4-Hour Workweek.

Will there be any work to be done, or will machines be doing it all? Will we require a work permit issued by an Economic Administration’s AI in order to have a job? Will we be receiving a guaranteed minimum income and be allowed to work only if our skills are needed and we can add value? Knowledge-value is created by harnessing minds.

The accelerating rate of change is driven by the exponential evolution of technology. It leaves most of us bewildered, disoriented, and confused.

The accelerating rate of change is why we need to anticipate and prepare for change. We can no longer stay relevant by merely adapting as quickly as possible. Those individuals, companies, and communities who prepare will have enormous opportunities, and those who don’t will be casualties of the Darwinian technical evolution. Unless we intercede with rapid re-skilling (especially digital skills) of the workforce as proposed by the President/CEO of ManPower, a large portion of our workforce will be unemployable. Even these re-skilled workers will need to continuously upgrade their right-brain skills of synthesis of ideas, collaboration, empathy, storytelling, and creative thought while working in a virtual world.

Depending on which forecast you accept, there will be 9 million to 15 million workers whose skills will be displaced by technology by 2025, less than ten years from now! This will happen (hard trend) through robotics and AI. Some of these will be absorbed by the retirement of baby-boomers who can afford to stop working, and others will drop out of the workforce as they are unable to participate due to the lack of marketable skills. They will likely be given a guaranteed minimum income (income tax credit) to prevent an uprising (think 2016 election).

So what work will there be to perform in 2032? There will be work for some in Robotics – human/machine interface; Genetics – customized drug therapies; Fin-Tech – block chain encryption; Cyber-Security – detecting, protecting and recovery; and Knowledge Engineering – designing the interface between mind/machine. Work becomes more digital and virtual. Are you ready? Are your organization and community becoming future smart?

In case you missed our webinar this month about spotting the trends shaping our future economy, click here to find out how to view the recording!

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