February 5, 2016Doug Hadden
The “future of work” became the technology meme of 2015. The poster child for the effects of digital transformation – how social, mobile, cloud and other technologies fundamentally changed long-standing business models. The taxi business by Uber and Lyft. The hotel business by AirBNB. Entrepreneurs tried to find new ways to “uberize” traditional industries.
Meanwhile, advances in robots threaten to automate manufacturing jobs while advances in artificial intelligence threaten to automate knowledge work.
The debate over what the ‘future of work’ looks like, how to unleash it and how to control it has taken on aspects of science fiction. Some see great advances by harnessing creativity. Others see social collapse as large corporations extract more value broadening the inequality gap.
The use of digital technology has created a freelance “gig economy”. The end of “jobs” in the traditional sense. Does this mean greater satisfaction as workers take on more exciting projects? Or, does it mean driving down the cost of work and incomes?
My predictions for 2016 are:
- The gig economy will grow significantly and the value system of what is important in work undergoes change.
- We won’t have too many answers about the future of the ‘future of work’ in 2016.
- Recognition that this trend will have a most significant impact in developing countries and emerging economies – from the reduction of labour arbitrage to more efficient systems bringing innovation and wealth.
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