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Our Take on The Australian's Take on Future Work

A recent article in The Australian was an opinion piece regarding the future of work. Where will human skills would be used when machines become smart, when robots become the "normal" co-worker, and when travelling via human-controlled cars will be a thrill-ride rather than a commute?

The message that automation will soon take over your job and mine, is a bit scary particularly when there is no clear idea of what to do about it, or how to think about humans' roles in future work. Yes, I assume that humans will have roles to play in future work, and what those roles will look like is left to speculation. It's all very uncertain with a wide range of possibilities. Those of us in the Centre for Transformative Work Design are attempting to anticipate the most likely meaningful shifts in the nature of work and envision work design of the future. In this process, I've been eagerly consuming thoughts and musings from others regarding future work.

Nigel Dalton shared his ideas in the Australian, saying that there will be a few specific roles that he sees as very possible and probable for future work, meaning it's time to train 10 year olds in particular skill sets now. to be ready for the jobs of the future. Specifically he predicts there will be the following jobs:

  • car-trekking instructor - Car's driven by humans will be a thing of the past, and so it's predicted that riding in a human-driven car or driving a car oneself will be an experience for thrill-seekers in the future. The proposed training needs listed in the Australian were: history, tour guide, patience of a zen buddhist master.

  • personality stylist for robots - Robots interacting with humans will likely have programming that allows users to personalise the "traits" of robots. The proposed training needs listed in the Australian were: training: psychology, fashion designer, software engineering

  • robot mechanic - Engineers and mechanics will be needed to fix robotics that will be increasingly part of human households. The proposed training needs listed in the Australian were: childcare, mediation mechanical engineering and origami

  • human connectors - With shifting ratios tipping toward more human machine interaction and minimising human to human interaction, we may forget how to have a conversation and connect with fellow humans. There may be a job for people to help people to interact with people again, in a more basic way than relationship managers today. The proposed training needs listed in the Australian were: linguistics, speech pathology, improve teachers

  • lifestream editor - There will be so much online content that people may want professional help to make their digital content about their lives more interesting. The proposed training needs listed in the Australian were: film school, social science

These are just 5 of many possible ways in which work of the future may shift. What other jobs do you foresee that don't exist today? How do you see work and life in 20 years? 30 years? 50 years?

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