ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT A NEW WORLD OF WORK?
Hardly a day goes past without a new study warning of
“jobmageddon” – new technologies, robots and machine
learning eliminating 20 or 40 per cent or more of today’s
employment. Every report is valuable and useless at the
same time – they are similar enough to indicate that the world of
work will change; but they are different enough to cause not just
confusion but paralysis.
It’s a bit like predicting that an asteroid will hit the earth. We
can be sure it will happen at some point, but when? What will the
impact be? What should we do about it?
Most of the current research deals with these questions, at best,
peripherally. They also miss some critical issues.
First, there haven’t been multiple “Industrial Revolutions,” there
was only one. It happened in the mid-19th century and it was all
about the application of technology to our “muscle.” What we are
seeing now is an Intelligence Revolution, the application of technology
to our “mind.”
Second, the Industrial Revolution created the whole idea of a
“job” as we know it today. The Intelligence Revolution is systematically
disaggregating what a job is and that is evident today in the
growth of the gig economy, contract work and portfolio careers.
Third, technology changes happen much faster than social acceptance
of those changes. There is little or nothing that affects
our lives in a significant way that hasn’t been around for a decade.
By Bill Greenhalgh
Phonlamai Photo / Shutterstock.com
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ CONFERENCE ISSUE 2018 ❚ 53