ZURICH—One of the largest concerns of today’s world is the future of jobs. What will the job market be like in 2050? How will technology have changed the workplace? And most importantly, will there be enough jobs for everyone? A recent Gallup world poll reveals that when asked to rank important factors in their lives, respondents said that jobs – specifically, great jobs – were at the top of the list. With the exponential growth of technology, however, many are left to wonder whether the job landscape of the future will be too dependent upon artificial intelligence and robotics to have room for a human element. And although these concerns are justified, there is still hope for a future where humans and technology work together toward a better world for all.
Technology’s advancement will impact the workforce. From the printing press that enabled the Reformation to the computers of today’s technological boom, technology has been evolving at unprecedented rates. But whether or not the trajectory of these advancements will continue to bring abundance – or change course toward a more dystopian landscape – is still unknown.
We are moving toward a fully interconnected society. Through technology, information can now flow freely and is readily almost anywhere. And with technology such as sensors, smart systems, and the Internet of things, virtual reality, machines, and the real world are becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependendent.
Technology is changing the job landscape. While scientific and technological advancements have brought substantial benefits thus far, the future of jobs may not be so great. With advances in new technology such as artificial intelligence, both blue collar and white collar jobs may be in competition with sophisticated machines and intelligent technology. However, it is also possible that the future of humans and machines may very well be one of symbiosis.
There are many different perspectives on the future. While some foresee a utopian paradise enabled by efficient systems and robotics assistants, many view the advancement of technology as a gateway to a digital doomsday where robots have surpassed humans and taken over the workplace. However, the realist approach of acknowledging the dangers of technology while embracing their ability to help us may be the most beneficial of all.
Creativity and critical thinking are key to improving the human element in the workforce. In order to keep up with advancing technology in the workforce, individuals need to acquire more creativity, critical thinking, and entrepreneurial skills to become indispensable assets in the age of technology.
Higher education needs to expand its curriculum. In addition to teaching students about core competencies, higher education institutions should also begin to focus on extracurricular qualifications, such as critical thinking, creative thinking, and entrepreneurial action, as well as how to become an economic actor and a productive member of society.
Creativity and critical thinking skills can be learned. From questioning tradition to trying new things to entering creative spaces, critical thinking and creativity can be taught not only in school, but also at home.
“Our perception of privacy, social interaction, and working conditions needs to be revised to fix the connected society that is now emerging.”