A recent article from the University of California’s Chief Innovation Officer, about the impact of disruptive technologies on jobs and skills, poses critical questions about how we connect learning to jobs—today, and in the future.
Everyone from politicians to policy makers, utopianists to university professors, innovators to investors, is talking about the future of work, the fourth industrial revolution, and the automation age. It’s hard to avoid these topics, and if you’re between the ages of, say, 16 and 80, you probably shouldn’t avoid them.
Fluency of ideas is a highly desirable future work skill, and the ability to come up with multiple ideas around a given topic is something that can be learned and practiced
There is a new line of thinking emerging around the topic of our AI-powered future, and what awaits us in the future of work.
If, in past years, the tone of most conversations has been on the dire side—the robots are coming to take your jobs and such—the winds are blowing in fairer directions as people start to realize the opportunities ahead. In short, we’re discovering there is an upside to automation—it’s returning creativity and related soft skills to a place of prominence.
For the record, the answer to the question posed in the title is “yes.”
Workforce Transitions in a Time of Automation
It’s important this answer be heard loud and clear, especially in light of all the conversations swirling around the release of an important new McKinsey report entitled Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce Transitions In A Time Of Automation.
The report has provoked strong reactions, and while the report itself offers much to be hopeful for, you wouldn’t necessarily know that from the subsequent articles published in its wake.
In a recent article from The HR Director entitled The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Heico Sandee of Smart Robotics writes the following:
Emerging technology in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing are all combining to drive a change across a range of industries, and this Fourth Industrial Revolution is taking the digital age to the next level.
We have been in a “digital age” for some time now, and that isn’t changing, but as technology’s ever-accelerating pace continues to power innovations both transformative and disruptive, the pressure on us all to adapt gets more intense.
This post begins with a request—if you would, please assume for the sake of argument that your current job is going to be automated away in the not-too-distant future by some version of artificial intelligence. Then, please also assume that you’re still going to have a good job.
If the pro-AI side is correct, the preceding scenario will mean having a great deal more time available for putting your mental and emotional energy towards vastly more productive and creative things than you might otherwise be stuck doing. For example, instead of wasting four hours of time driving your car in commuter traffic because you live in an area with no viable public transportation, you could be sitting in a self-driving car writing, coding, talking, thinking, dreaming, inventing, what have you.
The Sharing Economy. The Learning Economy. The On-Demand Economy. Hybrid Jobs. The Skills Gap. The Talent Shortage. Interviewless Hiring. Lifelong Learning. Competency-Based Education. Disruptive Innovation. Growth Mindset. What in the world is going on? If you’re either preparing to enter the workforce for the first time, are facing the need to skill up to remain competitive in your current role, or are contemplating a career change, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now.
Job opportunities continue to grow in emerging spaces such as virtual reality, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles. At the same time, existing roles in fields from healthcare to finance are changing dramatically as new tools and technologies are adopted. The concept of lifelong learning is accordingly transforming from a discretionary aspiration to a career necessity. No longer is it a supplemental luxury to learn new skills, and no longer is learning new skills something you do only when you’re pursuing a significant career change. Being relevant, competitive, and in-demand in today’s fast-moving world requires an ongoing commitment to lifelong learning regardless of your role or career path.