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It can hardly be denied that a shift towards a digital world has irrevocably altered every aspect of life in the 21st century. Our daily activities are fed into digital systems that are connected via information networks. Along the same vein, IBM’s product that generates buzz is no longer a mere computer, but a super computer called IBM Watson that boasts human-like cognition. So, it comes as no surprise that intelligent technologies and automatic systems are creeping in and gradually replacing human labor, rendering the prospect of having machines as colleagues a real possibility and a common sight in the near future. On the other hand, technology with greater intelligence has also allowed designers and those in other spheres to apply other disciplines to their existing knowledge or engage in interdisciplinary collaboration in order to create innovation, which helps expand their roles and capacity to keep up with shifts in needs in the market and manufacturing.
Early this year, the World Economic Forum published a Human Capital Report, predicting that over seven million jobs might disappear by 2020 due to the advancement of digital technology, the emergence of aging societies, resource shortages, and other environmental factors. At the same time, approximately 2.1 million jobs will arise, all of which will be related to new technology, namely artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and big data management. For instance, the requirements for a good executive in the future may no longer be restricted to managerial skills or human resources development skills but will expand to planning anthropologically-oriented work systems among employees, machines, and tools as well as developing the organization to ensure its relevance. Surgeons, for example, may collaborate with organ designers and material researchers in transplanting a 3D-printed organ. Similarly, we may see more user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers who develop AR- and VR-integrated multimedia in our everyday lives, as accomplished by Pokemon Go.The report also states that future employment will rely chiefly on an individual’s skills, knowledge, and expertise. “Job positions” will play a much less significant role and may no longer have a clear definition as each job requires a skillset rather than a skill. In other words, it is skills that will indicate who holds the potential to be further developed for the world in the future.
Among professions that are on the rise, the one that we would keep our eyes on is data scientists. Managing the scattered constellation of both offline and online data, they are experts on creating mathematical models from data or machine learning analyses to predict future trends as data holds the key to the development of products and services that remain current, reach the target group, and help distinguish a business from its competitors.An interesting question is where humans fit in the future labor market when every element in the urban life is interconnected and communicates among itself freely and when machines will become our equals or even exceed us. Even a leader of robotic technology development like Japan, like many countries that are becoming aging societies, is experiencing a shortage of working age population, especially workers with skills sought after by organizations. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealed in its survey in 2014 that up to 81 percent of Japan’s companies are besieged by this problem, while most employees are under the impression that they lack the skills necessary for their lines of work.
However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In its Human Capital Report, the World Economic Forum analyzed that we are heading towards collaboration rather than competition. However, a new generation of labor must continue to boost their potential to keep up with the shift and equip themselves with problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creativity, human management skills, interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence, decision-making skills, service-oriented mind, negotiation skills, and cognitive flexibility – skills that capture the essence of humanity that artificial intelligence has yet to achieve.
Join us to find new answers and solutions at CU 2016 on October 27-30, 2016.
“The Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” for 2016 by the World Economic Forum
“The Human Capital Report 2016” by the World Economic Forum
“The Future of Work: A Journey to 2022” by PricewaterhouseCoopers
Photo by Pujohn Das/ Space10
The shortage of resources…
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