Automation from AI, robotics, IoT and other emerging technologies was a hot topic in Davos this week at the World Economic Forum. The most immediate concern seemed to be the future of the labor market. Will automation eliminate jobs? Will it create new ones?
The answers I hear are not mutually exclusive, the two sides miss each other by not specifying the time frame. My take: in the near term it will create jobs with a great deal of installation, customization, training, and upkeep. Long term, a massive net loss of jobs. Where the turning point comes is anyone’s guess.
But even with a mass reduction of jobs that forces a radical restructuring of society and economic systems, there will always be opportunities for skilled individuals or relevantly capable groups — which brings us to the more actionable issue: Reskilling.
We’ve had to mass re-skill our workforce at major historical turning points, but the frequency with which workforces need to re-invent themselves will be increasing exponentially along with technological innovation. Regular reskilling will become the new norm, and we better get good at it — both individually and as societies.
A thoughtful forward-thinking article from the World Economic Forum
asks who will pay the massive cost of reskilling the workforce (the story looks at the U.S., but the same issues are relevant worldwide). The author looks at mass efforts for entire societies.
I’m particularly interested in more strategic efforts for any given group (or individual) that decides it wants to be prepared but doesn’t know exactly how. A new kind of education process will necessarily be at the heart of it, as the education system we have in place now was built for a world that no longer exists. I’m looking forward to exploring this further in future issues of the newsletter and on the MIND & MACHINE show. Would love to hear your thoughts now and along the journey — you can always hit reply to this newsletter to reach me.