Social Marketing Fella

Will Technology Change the Future of Work?

Only a small amount of kids today knows what they’re gonna be when they grow up. If we put aside statements like Rock Star, Fireman or Batman, it is clear that many young people don’t know what to do with their future. While this fact could make us very concerned in the past decades, today it’s maybe better to ‛go with the flow’. Or, should we say, with technological flow. How do you prepare for the job that doesn’t currently exist? Is it worth to go through the effort of gaining knowledge if they’re gonna give a job to a robot instead? Could technology completely change the future of work by 2020? We’ve already seen a vast number of solutions gained by technological growth in every business field. This certainly made us more productive, but could it make us unnecessary? Will there be an end to employment as we know it?

The Times They Are A-Changin’

As Bob Dylan said in this cult song, it’s time to ‛admit that the waters around you have grown’. This metaphor has changed very much since 1964 and we can say that today those waters have become the vast sea of technology. It is like the biblical flood, but there is no Noah’s Arc and every man is for himself. The survival will depend on our ability to catch the waves of new job opportunities before they appear on the horizon.

Like good old Bob said, ‛you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone’. The times when the father would pass on the family business to his sons has become a ‛once upon a time’ thing. But has the technology really changed our lives so much, or did we also prepare the terrain for such a change? If you look at the generation of Millennials, they seem to change their jobs almost every year. It’s clear that this is due to the lack of interest, and that is why all those rules-based and repetitive tasks are slowly being automatized. On the other hand, there is a great number of technological innovations that are leading to job creation. So it can be said that we asked for this change ourselves. But is there a real balance? Is there a job lost – job gained? Or is the rapid growth of artificial intelligence going to get us all replaced by robots?

Mr. Robot

Lucky for us, these new times have also affected the old sayings. Behind every successful robot there isn’t his competent robot wife, but a competent human. By automatizing our current (and for most of us boring) jobs, the machines have given us the time for more creative activities. This shift will enable us all to express ourselves and it will lead to unprecedented creativity. With a development of various apps, the difficult skills of art and design don’t take decades to master anymore. They offer us tools for websites like Wix and for a design like Canva, and the fact is that they still need us to use them. Now we have time on our hands, and all we need is a willingness to acquire new skills. It is like having a key that is able to unlock all our latent talents.

All we need to do is to use the fact that we’re born with free resources under our fingertips in order to realize that in fact, we are the builders of this new worlds, while technology is still a tool, more powerful than ever. But this power still belongs to us and not only that we’re able to create new working places, but we’re also able to create entirely new worlds full of job opportunities. This is already happening in the domain of games that use real currency transactions such as Eve Online and Second Life where many skillful players are making a decent living out of it.

I’ll be the judge of that

Ah, the legal profession. Administration, paperwork, waiting in lines…we could use some automatization with this one, right? The Law is an old, ancient profession, and sometimes it seems that is carried by mummified personal that can’t do a single move without a sip of coffee when they are not on a break. It seems like the perfect ground for technological evolution, since many legal services actually don’t require legal advice.

Hopefully, we understood by this point that the robots are not going to take over and enslave the world, so we could put some stressful matters in their hands. But when it comes to the real legal advice, it always requires experience and wisdom. Even in ancient Greece where matters were dealt with via deus ex machina, the half-god prophets were still half-human and not machines. That is because complicated legal advice such as immigration issues or parenting order require experience and judgment the artificial intelligence is still not able to replicate.

If you take a look at Sydney based Family Lawyers guidelines, you’ll find that they will always focus on your personal application and not on the complexity of the process. This is the key – the machines can take care of the complicated processes, but the humans are those experienced professionals that will guide you step by step, explain you everything in concise language and make you understand the problem (and solution) completely. That’s why legal matters still need to remain in the hands of skillful human professionals, while formal registrations, document collaboration, and even simple contracts can be handed out to the machines.

And let’s return once more to the wise words of Bob Dylan – ‛as the present now will later be past’.  Since the beginning of time, nature has changed and creatures had to adapt in order to avoid extinction. If you feel threatened today by the growth of technology, it’s only because you’re avoiding to see the birth of new opportunities. We all need to follow the course of evolution, especially since this one is created by us.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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