7 Reasons To Be Excited About The Future of Work
It’s up to us — human beings — to make sure we see these possibilities through to fruition.
By 2030, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Because they work differently, they will change the status quo of work. This generation will push through more innovation and change than we’ve ever seen.
Many exciting new technologies will continue to transform the way we work, learn, and get opportunities. Here are some of them.
1. Death of Boring, Routine Work
In a world with artificial intelligence, creativity is king. The one thing that is the hardest to replicate — conceptual work — will become the most valued in the new economy. The value of conceptual work will increase, while routine work will become automated.
It’s already starting to happen.
A factory in China replaced 90% of human workers with robots. The outcome: production rose by 250% and defects dropped by 80%.
It’s not only happening with factory jobs. It’ll happen with any profession where the work is routine.
Oxford researchers suggest that 45% of all US jobs could be automated within the next 20 years.
Throughout history, people have always innovated. Cars replaced horses. Self-driving cars will replace cars. Self-driving helicopter drone taxis will replace self-driving cars. This cycle will always continue.
2. Work as an Option
When automation takes over routine work, governments will have to find a way to make up for lost wages.
The widening inequality gap is one of the reasons we’re still struggling with poverty.
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone had their basic needs such as food, water, and security met? Imagine if people could work on things they were passionate about — whether that’s art, starting a business, or doing nothing.
Universal basic income allows needs to be supported by a stipend, instead of working for a living. It gives everyone a certain amount of money even if professions are displaced by automation. This separates basic needs from employment.
In the future, I believe that basic income could eradicate global poverty.
Y Combinator is launching a basic income plan in Oakland. A few dozen Oakland residents will get $2,000 per month, no strings attached, for a year.
Finland is already experimenting to see if basic income will reduce poverty, social exclusion, and bureaucracy, while increasing the employment rate.
India is considering fighting poverty with a universal basic income.
3. No (Compensation) Ceilings
By 2020, 50% of the U.S. workforce will be freelancers. Today, these freelancers work on-demand across many different gigs.
Wages have not kept up with increased productivity. In the future, you can be paid for the outcome of your work.
This fluid and flexible model of working will change the traditional definition of a career. No longer will the 9–5 cubicle be the archetype of the workforce.
As the value of conceptual work increases, the compensation for those services will also increase. This will create a more stable gig economy and new flexible services can surface such as universal healthcare.
Patreon allows creators to receive patronage from their fans on what they create. Most creators earn $25K each year creating videos, writing stories, and producing podcasts.
In the future, everyone will be able to make as much as they want. There will be fewer salary and compensation ceilings.
4. Affordable, Personalized Education
With high-quality online education becoming more affordable and accessible, we will see the death of college debt. We’re already seeing a decline in college enrollments.
Long gone are the days where a college degree is your ticket to success. Low-quality education systems are filing for bankruptcy and replaced with affordable, high-quality alternatives.
University of Phoenix went out in flames with a 54% drop in enrollments. They preyed on the lower class with the promise of high-paying jobs.
Education is also becoming personalized. AltSchool leverages technology to create personalized learning experiences for students. Each student works with a highly individualized “playlist,” a personalized lesson plan based not just on his or her interests, but also how and under what conditions he or she is most motivated to learn.
In the future, students will learn in a “one size fits one” model. It’ll be high-quality, affordable, and personalized. The starting line will be even and education will become a basic human right for everyone.
5. Distributed Work(ers) from Anywhere
The traditional office structure is crumbling. Companies will become more nimble, empowering and more decentralized. This offers more freedom, flexibility and upward mobility for many.
“The future of work is not around the structure of the org chart but the structure of the network. The organization is not a given hierarchy, but an ongoing process of responsive organizing.” — Esko Kilpi
The org chart will be replaced with the network, thus changing the way companies operate, compete, and strategize.
No longer will we be confined by location. The future network will allow the best talent to work for any company from anywhere in the world.
6. Global Internet Access
Over ⅔ of the world’s population doesn’t yet have Internet access. This is nearly 4 billion in the world!
Project Loon (from Google X) is a network of balloons traveling on the edge of space, designed to connect people in rural and remote areas, help fill coverage gaps, and bring people back online after disasters.
Facebook is testing out a solar-powered Aquila plane, designed to deliver internet access to remote areas of the world.
SpaceX plans to launch 4,425 Internet satellites to encircle the planet in high-speed internet satellites. This is roughly three-times the number of satellites that currently orbit the earth.
By giving every single person access to the Internet, we’ll continue to democratize information, empower the masses, and unlock everyone’s full potential.
7. Upward Mobility for All
In the future, people will find opportunities based on talent and effort. This is a great step in the right direction for social mobility.
Andela selects the top 1% of tech talent from the largest pool of untapped talent in the world — the African continent.
Their motto is, “dubbed the startup that’s harder to get into than Harvard by CNN, we sift through tens of thousands of applicants so you dont have to.”
“Imagine a world of nine billion people with clean water, nutritious food, affordable housing, personalized education, top-tier medical care, and nonpolluting, ubiquitous energy. Building this better world is humanity’s grandest challenge.” — Peter Diamandis
Global Internet access will level the playing field for everyone — creating a meritocracy in this new economy while providing universal access to learning and opportunities.
It’s up to us — human beings — to make sure we see these possibilities through to fruition. To build things in ways that will create equality for everyone, provide both security and flexibility for workers, and create work opportunities that are exciting and fulfilling.
I’m the CEO/founder of Skillshare. Our mission is to create a meritocracy in the new economy by providing universal access to learning and opportunities. To hear from me in the future, subscribe to my monthly newsletter.