“Moonshot thinking” is popular now to solve earthbound challenges. Helpful in some cases perhaps, but not sufficient.
What adaptive traits may workers in the future need?
Not all robots will be fancy, hip, mechanical marvels. There is a growing diversity in approaches to robotics.
It isn’t just technology changing the nature of work, but changing perceptions on the utility of depth of knowledge and ability to learn new things.
If robots fight against injustice will we still accept them?
No one needs telling that the Future is Coming. But there are different perspectives and attitudes toward it. Scenarios and futures thinking needs to embrace grittier complex narratives to really engage their audiences.
Elephants can be an important symbol to illustrate concepts for how to think about the future. I’ve found a new one to add to the metaphorical menagerie.
NZ’s Productivity Commission has developed draft scenarios looking at the impact of technological change on the future of work. They want to know if they are useful for considering the future labour market effects of technological change. My initial response is no.
It’s hard to find a way through the forest of forecasts about the impact new technologies will have on work and life. Is it going to be terrible, awesome, same same, all of the above, or something else?
Two centuries ago there was an allegory doing the rounds of England. A “New Zealander” – meaning a Māori - at some latter date sat drawing the ruins of London. A sign that all great cities and civilisations eventually diminish and others take their place.
Like business and politics, futurism and foresight are susceptible to short-termism, shallow historical perspectives, and a focus on parts not the whole.
“One-way thinking on a two-way street”, from an Ogden Nash poem, is particularly apt for a lot of the futures speculation and prediction going on all over the place.