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An Abundant Vision for the Future of Work: Embracing Technology with Optimism

Sometimes for those outside of our industry, emerging tech can be resisted. Whether it’s a fear of job destruction or fear of robots taking over the world, most are irrational and uninformed. In early December, Garry A. Bolles from Singularity University hosted a webcast called “An Abundant Vision for the Future of Work” where he paints a more positive future about what humans and technology can do together.

Exponential technologies are those that when combined, they improve and grow even faster. Think about all the buzzwords you see daily or in tech headlines: computing, machine learning, AI, robotics, smart sensors, IoT, or renewable energy. We know the skills and capabilities are endless, but first, we have to focus on problems.

As humans and workers at the most basic level, we have skills that perform tasks to solve problems. We continue to build skills to perform more tasks to solve more problems. This is nothing new, and as lifelong learners, many of us are excited to continue to learn new skills and perform new tasks.

Consider the tasks you perform today – many of them weren’t performed years ago. Personally, I never thought I would pursue digital marketing, but that wasn’t even an option to look forward to when I was a kid. If I had known I could get paid for writing blog posts and designing social media sites, I would have taken my middle school hobbies a lot more seriously.

If we can expect our tasks and roles to change soon, that can empower us to concentrate our efforts on what problems we want to solve in the world. Our world is far from perfect, and we should explore the issues and strategies for all individuals, communities, and organizations in the world.

All work should have a purpose, for the sake of the individual’s sanity and the organization’s efficiency. We might have to create work to do in the future, so encourage “do-ers” to find the problems they want to solve and engage teams to accomplish those goals. We can work alongside technologies with co-biotics to create better versions of ourselves to then collaborate with others.

We also need to embrace more play, which will strongly influence our future work and learning. Or maybe it already has, but now that experts tell us it’s okay to prioritize leisure, we can do so without guilt.

Our increasingly digital economy provides an opportunity to change the narrative regarding technology: with new opportunities and unlimited imaginations, we can unbundle work, the middle class, and higher education to channel human energy in a new way. It’s up to all of us to create the future of work that we want.

A lot of my work with Accenture is thinking about the future of work that we want to build. We are not victims as technology evolves. We control the progress, good and bad, and I’m so excited to see where we can bring #Tech4Good. In the near future, we’ll be doing work that we couldn’t have dreamed of. So, let’s dream up our dream jobs.

++ Mary K

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