Public Lecture: Work of the Future: Where Will it Come From?
With the advent of the AI-driven Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the ‘Future of Work’ has been a popular area of research and public discourse. The inherent assumption is that jobs are in trouble from machines and technology. The ‘Work of the Future’ approach has nuanced differences from the traditional Future of Work narratives. In fact, it challenges the latter. The new disposition is that ‘technology is neither the problem nor the solution.’ Furthermore, it can be argued that high industrial productivity and strong labour markets can coexist. In the 4IR, more and better jobs can be built if we create robust systems and institutions that leverage technological advancement and innovation while supporting workers through long cycles of technological disruption.
What is critical is the development of institutional innovations that complement technological change. We need skills and re-skilling programs that emphasise work-based and hybrid training and learning. The objective is to empower workers to become and remain productive in an endlessly disruptive workplace. Yes, the AI-driven 4IR could mean more jobs and not less.