Select Writings On The Future Of Work

 

LEARNING UNCERTAINTY

Change is coming at us with the greatest velocity in human history. In the single second it took you to read the previous sentence, an algorithm executed 1,000 stock trades. Computers in Visa’s credit card network processed over three million transactions, no doubt a few of them providing payment for the 17 packages that robots helped pack and ship from Amazon’s warehouses. Right now, 56,000 Google searches are returning tens of billions of results links. At this very moment, more than 2.5 million emails are being sent, not all of them by human beings. Technology is accelerating the pace of business at unthinkable speeds, so much so that the job you have today is changing as quickly as you read this page. If we can barely imagine one second’s worth digital deluge, how will we get our heads around the stunningly different future of work. Because, to be clear, the team you lead and the job you have today – if they exist at all – will be very different in 18 to 24 months. For generations, new technologies – from the steam engine to the Internet and beyond – have fundamentally changed the nature of work and the economy. But it is happening faster now while we are living longer. Whereas our parents and grandparents might have experienced only one, or even no, significant change in their lifetimes, you have likely already experienced a dramatic technology-driven shift in your career. And your children will likely absorb a major shift every ten to fifteen years across theirs. Continue reading at OEB Insights or LinkedIn (includes graphics)

Change is coming at us with the greatest velocity in human history.

In the single second it took you to read the previous sentence, an algorithm executed 1,000 stock trades. Computers in Visa’s credit card network processed over three million transactions, no doubt a few of them providing payment for the 17 packages that robots helped pack and ship from Amazon’s warehouses. Right now, 56,000 Google searches are returning tens of billions of results links. At this very moment, more than 2.5 million emails are being sent, not all of them by human beings.

Technology is accelerating the pace of business at unthinkable speeds, so much so that the job you have today is changing as quickly as you read this page. If we can barely imagine one second’s worth digital deluge, how will we get our heads around the stunningly different future of work. Because, to be clear, the team you lead and the job you have today – if they exist at all – will be very different in 18 to 24 months.

For generations, new technologies – from the steam engine to the Internet and beyond – have fundamentally changed the nature of work and the economy. But it is happening faster now while we are living longer. Whereas our parents and grandparents might have experienced only one, or even no, significant change in their lifetimes, you have likely already experienced a dramatic technology-driven shift in your career. And your children will likely absorb a major shift every ten to fifteen years across theirs. Continue reading at OEB Insights or LinkedIn (includes graphics)


STOP ASKING WHAT

stop.asking.what.jpg

 

We ask young people : “WHAT do you want to be when you grow up?”
We ask university students : “WHAT is your major?”
We ask each other : “So, WHAT do you do [for a living is implied]?

Each of these questions, in its own way, promises a future directed toward and shaped by a job. Increasingly, the answers inevitably point to a job that may never be there.

How can children dream of a career when more than half the work available to them in their adulthood has not yet been conceived?

How can we encourage college students to assume great debt to acquire a set of skills and base of knowledge for jobs that will evaporate before that debt is paid.

How will workers describe themselves when they have become unbundled from traditional corporate jobs or cobble together an income from multiple sources. (For more on this, see our Jobs Are Over blog series.

The Dangers of the Frozen or Fixed Identity

Still, we ask each other “what” using ambition and work as the proxy for identity and status. They are questions that may have worked at one time in our history as we rode an escalator from learning through career development and on to a happy retirement. These “what” questions calcified one’s identity in a system of education and work that ran like a pipeline from school to factory and corporation, a system that worked well enough in a slowly evolving economy, but one that will fail us desperately as we experience the greatest velocity of change in human history. The escalator is now gone! Now, we must traverse a terrain of broken steps in order to craft our career arc. To do so, we will need different skills and an entirely new agile learning mindset.

Continue Reading on LinkedIn


The Hard Truth About Lost Jobs: It's Not About Immigration

Photo Credit: Boston Dynamics

Photo Credit: Boston Dynamics

Few topics spike the ire of American voters like jobs, immigration, and trade, no doubt because the three are inexorably tied together, at least in the rhetoric of politicians who point to immigration and trade as the villains of the American jobs story.

This narrative was clearly in evidence during the presidential campaign, as candidates in nearly every race made admirable pledges to “bring back jobs” through any number of means: reducing immigration by building a wall on our “southern border”, tearing up trade deals, punishing companies that relocate jobs outside of the US, and/or rounding up and deporting undocumented workers. That political rhetoric has spilled into the post-election zeitgeist in the comment sections of online media, like our Immigration, We Simply Cannot Afford This post that examined the economic contribution of legal immigration over the last half century. The comments section was a river of outrage over illegal immigration and trade, even though neither topic was the focus of the piece. Still, the post hit a cord and has reached over 500,000 views.

It’s no wonder. Jobs -- the lack of them, generally, and the lack of good-paying ones, particularly -- is a hot button for many Americans who are suffering from stagnant wages or worse, up-ended careers. While immigrants and trade may be convenient whipping boys (why else would politicians lite on them so readily?), the preponderance of evidence suggests that it is automation, not immigration, that is eating American jobs.

Read More on LinkedIn


Education and accelerated change: The imperative for design learning

  Note: As we enter a period marked by the greatest velocity of change in human history, it is helpful to consider broader context. Past paradigm shifts took place about once every 100 years, and since human lifespans then were shorter, there was more time to absorb and adapt to this change. We are entering a period of extended human longevity which, combined with accelerated technological change, requires constant adaptation and re-skilling.  This piece is co-authored by Daniel Araya, PhD. EDUCATION IN THE ERA OF CONTINUOUS TECHNOLOGICAL DISRUPTION Discussions on the impact of “technological disruption” writ large are now so common as to seem almost banal. According to research at Gartner, for example, one-third of all jobs will be converted into software, robots, and smart machines by as early as 2025. Meanwhile, some 65 percent of children in grade school today are predicted to work in jobs that have yet to be invented. In fact, all of these changes are converging toward what some are now describing as a “Third Industrial Revolution” Given this technological revolution, how should educators respond to accelerating change? The short answer is that we need to give up on creating specialists or hyper-specialists. Educators and education leaders would do well to focus less on translating knowledge—notably transferring existing knowledge to students— and more on the processes of entrepreneurial learning and creativity. Continue Reading on LinkedIn (with graphics) Continue Reading on Brookings Institution (without graphics) 

 

Note: As we enter a period marked by the greatest velocity of change in human history, it is helpful to consider broader context. Past paradigm shifts took place about once every 100 years, and since human lifespans then were shorter, there was more time to absorb and adapt to this change. We are entering a period of extended human longevity which, combined with accelerated technological change, requires constant adaptation and re-skilling. 

This piece is co-authored by Daniel Araya, PhD.

EDUCATION IN THE ERA OF CONTINUOUS TECHNOLOGICAL DISRUPTION

Discussions on the impact of “technological disruption” writ large are now so common as to seem almost banal. According to research at Gartner, for example, one-third of all jobs will be converted into software, robots, and smart machines by as early as 2025. Meanwhile, some 65 percent of children in grade school today are predicted to work in jobs that have yet to be invented. In fact, all of these changes are converging toward what some are now describing as a “Third Industrial Revolution” Given this technological revolution, how should educators respond to accelerating change? The short answer is that we need to give up on creating specialists or hyper-specialists. Educators and education leaders would do well to focus less on translating knowledge—notably transferring existing knowledge to students— and more on the processes of entrepreneurial learning and creativity.

Continue Reading on LinkedIn (with graphics)

Continue Reading on Brookings Institution (without graphics) 


Immigration: We Simply Cannot Afford This

immigration.cant.afford.graphics.jpg

 

In an interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” three days after President Trump’s executive order restricting entry to foreign nationals from seven largely Muslim countries, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the ban “a small price to pay” to insure the security of the country. Mr. Spicer’s comment and, indeed, the ban itself begs for a fact-based discussion on the role of immigration in the United States economy, particularly as this Executive Order is just the first steps in a “larger immigration effort,” according to the White House spokesman.

With student and H-1B work visa programs, among others, squarely in the sights of reformers, I turned to multiple, nonpartisan research organizations to examine the impacts of entrepreneurship, job growth, and immigration on the economy. The findings suggest that, contrary to Mr. Spicer’s assertion, the price may be much higher than the administration is willing to admit.

[Note: This article, which is my opinion supported by facts, strives to create a dialogue about immigration and the economy-- it is not limited to, or a focus on, the currently proposed executive order temporary ban-- that is merely the catalyst. Said simply and directly, this is not an article about the ban.]

Net Job Growth

To place the impact of immigration in context, it’s important to first look at the source of new job growth. In its 2015 update to the report The Importance of Young Firms For Economic Growth, the Kauffman Foundation found that the majority of net new job creation and twenty percent of gross job creation comes from companies five years and younger. Firms less than one year old created an average of 1.5 million jobs per year over the past thirty years. Older, established firms, often shed jobs at a rate higher than they create them. It stands to reason, then, that we need to continuously create new companies in order to keep pace with the needs of our labor force.

Continue Reading On LinkedIn