The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the source of this piece on The Future of Work. I don’t disagree with the headline, but the article itself falls short of providing solace. In fact it falls short of being an article – but that’s another story.
An altogether disappointing piece that ends …
“I really come away from this concerned about the direction [of work], but optimistic about our ability to change it.”
David Autor, Co-chair, MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future and MIT Professor of Economics
On what grounds? Their was nothing of substance in the piece. Just opinion.
I was really taken by these words that came in an email from one of my newsletter readers. Capturing it for posterity … because it is important.
Character may be something you are born with and largely in place by age 5 but surely it is something that is developed and refined in many ways through a thousand experiences in both good and bad directions. Right?
Since a zillion years ago I have ALWAYS subscribed to “hire character, teach skills”. It has never let me down and the boneheaded moves I have made here and there were when I deviated from this.
In understanding how organizations search for ‘talent’ these days, candidates know that their first two or three hurdles will have nothing to do with people and everything to do with machines and as a result valuable time is spent in tuning their resume and cover letter with SEO like terms, so that they bubble to the top.
Do you find that as sad, bad and depressing as I do?
It’s like outsourcing your customer support team to a call center, full of untrained people … oh wait!
I mean it’s like putting junior people into sales training on their inside sales team … oh wait!
I mean it’s like putting a temp on your front desk, so that anyone who comes into your offices is greeted by someone who knows nothing about your organization …
“A ‘cognitive elite’ will rise to power and influence, as a class of sovereign individuals ‘commanding vastly greater resources’ who will no longer be subject to the power of nation-states and will redesign governments to suit their ends.”
Cognitive Elites … not the same as ‘Elites’ – and – be it a ‘discredited’ term or not – I have no doubt that those that seek to use technology to protect their interests – and not subjugate themselves to the Corporates will win out. They are thinking, acting, doing and rising above the media clutter. Who are those people? Well, maybe it is easier to point out who they are not …. they are not people;
who shake their heads and say ‘what can we do’
who continue to blindly use Facebook, despite all the proof of what they have done and continue to do
who have a single password across all of their accounts
who have a password like 1234password
… you get the picture
NO – it doesn’t include those people.
But it also is not about having superior intelligence. (Which is what the book was talking about.) No. That is not going to save you. And those people aren’t the cognitive elites that I think about.
To me – I think you are a cognitive elite if you think. At all. Your IQ can be below 100 – like half the population – but that doesn’t mean you can’t think … that is a choice.
“The digital revolution is changing how and where work happens. Employment is becoming more flexible and fluid, with digital technology enabling more people to work remotely and to collaborate in the cloud. This will impact city-centre offices, with landlords having to adjust to weaker demand and shorter leases. And as artificial intelligence bites – machines don’t care where they work – we’ll see the growth of cheaper regional back-offices, which is bad news for expensive cities.”
I just read a blog post, The Future of Work – Redux by John Philpin. It provides a nice, short look at what might happen as computers, robots and artificial intelligence become increasingly present in the workplace—what will people do when “all the work is done by robots?” As a result, I will be using computer,robots and AI interchangeably for the rest of this post.
John expresses a view that the future includes people working with robots, not simply people being replaced by robots. I happen to agree with that. I’ve written several blog posts on artificial intelligence (AI) and my skepticism about the capabilities and pace of the introduction of AI systems. AI has enormous potential, but I don’t see AI making humans obsolete any time soon (actually, I don’t see AI making humans obsolete—period).
Computers, and by extension, robots and AI, possess one important capability: they can add and subtract really friggin’ fast. George Boole developed what we now call Boolean Logic and it created an approach that allows us, following in the footsteps of Charles Babbage, Augusta Ada King-Noel Countess Lovelace (nee Byron), Grace Hopper and Claude Shannon, to stick those additions and subtractions together in such a way as to resolve any computable task (à la Alan Turing).