August 15, 2019

Why we should be talking about the 'Future of Work'

In his bestseller, ‘The Third Industrial Revolution’, professor of economics, Jeremy Rifkin, the principal architect of the Third Industrial Revolution in China and Germany, suggested that the respective countries would be running on 100% renewable energy by the year 2040. Not just that, the fixed costs associated with the renewable energy infrastructure are going to be as low as telephones. This is not only intriguing but also leaves us with a lot to ponder over.

It is significantly evident that the world today is going through massive changes that are bound to have disruptive implications in the future, especially in the world of work. The future of work has never been so exciting and uncertain at the same time. A study by the World Economic Forum concluded that, in India, the trend towards contractualization of labour is likely to rise with technological adoption. It was reported that 59% of the Indian youth is interested in the gig economy as a main source of income. While the gig economy is one such expected trend, there are several other that would in many ways, influence the future of work.

Automation

Studies show, in the future, AI would diagnose the stage of a tumour by assessing CT scans,

MRIs etc. Does this mean doctors would have to work with machines? Is their job security threatened due to automation?

Sharing Economy

The success of Uber, Airbnb, Zoom Cars etc. have paved the way to a new economy called the Sharing Economy. Is our workforce ready to accommodate such a source of income or to thrive in such a setting? It is also reported that 80% of the vehicles on the road will be eliminated. What happens to the workforce driving these cars at the moment?

Crowdsourcing

It is expected that a large part of the level 1 jobs in the IT sector are already being outsourced. Will this trend rise to all types of jobs and in all sectors?

Climate Change

With increasing pressure from governments and environmentalists, automobile companies are increasingly switching to electric cars. What would happen to our workforce that is predominantly embedded in an infrastructure that thrives on fossil fuels?

While these are several trends noticed about the future of work, one must understand that it would be defined by the steps we take together as a society, today. Thus, it becomes, imperative that we make conscious efforts in co-creating the future of work. A centre for the future of work in government bodies, enterprises, development organisations or universities is essential and would be monumental in achieving the following:

• The centre would be a unique platform to identify, understand and respond to challenges posed by the future of work and act as a collaborative space for students of different disciplines to engage in pressing problems to develop practical solutions for the future.

• It would create a platform for organizations to engage with students and work together to solve some of the most prevalent problems faced in the industry.

• The centre would enable discussions, workshops, talks, podcasts and events that would pioneer discussions relevant to the future of work and connect people with different perspectives.

• The platform could enable rapid learning and exchange of knowledge.

Here's an incredible short film by Superflux that will provoke you into recognising the importance of co-creating the future.