The Washington Post
January 5, 2015
It is a sobering thought that in 10 years, around 65 percent of the jobs that people will be doing have not even been thought of yet, according to the Department of Labor.
In Australia, there are reports that up to half a million existing jobs could be taken over by robotics or machines run by artificial intelligence.
So with smarter computers taking on more of the work that people currently do, we are left to wonder what jobs there might be left for us humans.
Could a robot do your job?
Almost any job that can be described as a “process” could be done by a computer, whether that computer is housed in a robot or embedded somewhere out of sight.
So if intelligent machines can take over many of the jobs of today, what can you do to ensure your job prospects in the future?
Some jobs will always be done by people. The reasons can vary greatly: economic, social, nostalgic or simply not practical for robots to do.
If around 65 percent of the jobs in 10 years have not been invented yet, we cannot be sure what those future jobs will actually look like, though futurists are not shy of making predictions.
While we may not know what outward form these jobs will take, we can still make a catalogue of the generic skills that will be valued highly.
Thinking skills for future workers
In his book “Five Minds for the Future,” the Harvard professor Howard Gardner makes the case for cultivating a disciplined mind — bringing attention to a laser-like focus and drilling down to the essence of a subject, perceiving the simple truth of it.
Then it’s important to take this clarity to the next level by combining multiple ideas in new ways to create something interesting and perhaps useful. This is done by the synthesizing mind and the creative mind.
Gardner also describes the respectful mind that values diversity in people and looks for positive ways to interact, thus overcoming the “us and them” instinct that still creates so much conflict in human affairs.
Building on this is the ethical mind, of one who thinks about the big picture and how personal needs can be brought into alignment with the greater good of the community. These are skills for a globally connected world.
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