By Alistair Wayne
I believe one of the challenges in the future is going to be the conflict between human interventions and automation. It is evident science is creating the possibility of machines doing most of the activities humans do in their place of work. This ranges from recent news bricklaying can be automated through to media planning and buying already being controlled by algorithms.
There are fund managers in the City who rely on technology which uses computers to decide when to trade based on filtering millions of bits of information in nanoseconds to decide when to buy and when to sell. This will have a very serious impact on how we live and how we look for work.
Even one of the Presidential candidates in France has suggested paying a monthly income to everyone in case their job is replaced by a robot. The reality is nobody’s safe. Suddenly, humans are redundant. But not all.
What skills will survive the cut?
I think the creative industries will come through. Yes, computers are writing novels, drawing and painting but what they lack is emotion. The deep feelings. The emotional connections, only the human spirit can create in sound, in vision or on a page – something new and inspiring.
Of course, science will thrive forever. Pushing boundaries and making the impossible possible, drives our physicists, engineers and chemists. But we’re not all wired up to be scientists.
I don’t have the answer to how society will cope when huge numbers become jobless. True meaning in our lives may have to shift from the material, from rank in society and being defined by the work we do. This could be an incredible opportunity for society to engage more with the arts and culture and maybe even act as a catalyst between science and creativity.
The Arts in the UK has always been poorly funded, but if the future means providing opportunity for work leads to the creative industries, then I’m interested.
The skills a child aged twelve learns now may not be enough for them to see through to retirement. This can only magnify how unprepared we are for the future shift to a jobless society. If there’s not a think tank out there to deal with this problem, then it’s time to source ideas.