How people are reacting to ideas about the new workforce after the “rise of the robots”

Written by Jordan McMahon in Changing the world with automation on January 29, 2015

Recently, an article on LinkedIn posited what the jobs of the future might look like after many of today’s jobs are automated (to the tune of 100M by the year 2025, according to McKinsey).

Automation Anywhere CEO Mihir Shukla saw new jobs emerging in three areas:

The predictive economy: Our current economy is a reactive economy—hence why we have institutions like insurance companies, urgent care centers, and automobile repair shops on every corner. Thanks to the ability to harness big data, and with major technological advances that are happening even as we speak, tomorrow’s economy will be predictive in nature. We’ll question why incidents like heart attacks and car accidents happen, and determine they don’t have to. Devices will be reimagined in the lens of the predictive economy. Companies like Whirlpool will be the next Apple—and it will take scores of people to conceptualize, design, mass produce, market, sell, implement, and service these new products. I.e., a new workforce.

Immersive entertainment experiences: Our infinite appetite for entertainment will demand that we move forward with experiences that replicate real life more closely and challenge us in new ways. Jobs in this area will feed the future of virtual theme parks in malls, screens on surfaces of all kinds, and other kinesthetic experiences that currently are passive (like watching TV or listening to music). To ensure the authenticity of these experiences, companies will require people that are “subject matter experts.” An indoor rock climbing instructor making $15/hour could land a $200K job directing a virtual rock climbing experience, for instance. The job possibilities here are truly endless.

An exchange where empathy is exercised like stock: Traits inherent to humankind, like empathy, can’t  be automated, and will be a source of future employment. Vast amounts of data will be available to organizations, including charities of all kinds, and it will become possible for people to easily determine where the best investments for their charitable giving will be. A workforce energized by empathy and informed by data will be able to drive capital to charities which will then be able to produce jobs to complete their mission.

Many media outlets have hyped up the increasingly automated future as being a negative, jobless, robot-overlord-fueled fear-a-palooza, but the commentary surrounding the jobs of the future portray a very different picture.

The opportunities of tomorrow require an adjustment in education today

With McKinsey’s prediction that 100 million jobs will disappear by 2025, and Gartner’s prediction that one in three jobs will be automated by the same year, it stands to reason that the jobs of the future will require different skillsets. And development of those skillsets start as early as kindergarten. Comments regarding jobs of the future corroborate that idea:

Not only are people contemplating what this means in terms of educational reform, but also what this means for their children as they consider their futures.

People are equally interested and intimidated by what the changes will mean in terms of healthcare

We’re already endlessly intrigued by developments such as Google’s cancer-detecting pill, something that we might see implemented in the not-all-too-distant future and that would change healthcare as we know it. When it comes to automation in regards to healthcare and a more predictive economy, people are hopeful, yes, but also concerned about what automation will do to the nature of work—and to the human body itself.

Others see pure opportunity

Actionable data will drive the change

Quality and quantity of data is pivotal in making the future advancements possible, particularly when it comes to the predictive economy and charitable endeavors. We’ll start seeing fewer traditional knowledge workers, and we’ll instead see more predictive workers. These workers will create intelligent machines based on large data sets, and will be continuously engaged with highly data-driven, cognitive technologies.

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