As we begin 2018, we’re kicking off a new series on the future of work. Because we work with one in five venture-backed startups, we have a unique and interesting perspective: We’re seeing the future of tech as it’s happening.
The future of work
Our amazing client base gives us insight into the next wave of technology as they build it. For example, more than 20 of our clients are developing technology needed to further enable self-driving cars. The future of work is changing dramatically, and we’re right in the middle of it.
This leap—brought on by deep machine learning, AI, smart sensors, and the internet of things—is exciting, but it’s also concerning. Jobs are being eliminated or replaced by robotics, and it’s going to happen faster than we originally expected, and it’s going to happen in industries that we didn’t originally see coming.
We’ll explore these complications and how to address them in the next few months.
Automation replacing humans
During the past two years, lots has been said about the loss of jobs—especially manufacturing jobs—in America. That loss is often blamed on globalization and immigration, but 87% of manufacturing jobs lost in 30 years was due to automation, not globalization.
The automation revolution happened in manufacturing first, but it’s coming for other industries next—even food preparation and hospitality. Meet Moley, a robotic chef with fully articulated hands who’s really good at making crab bisque. The consumer version, set for launch in 2018, will be supported by an iTunes’ style library of recipes.
It’s happening faster than we anticipated
This brave new world of robot overlords has been looming on the horizon, somewhat ominously, for a few years. But a new study by McKinsey Global institute, a think tank that specializes in business and economics, predicts that nearly 70 million US workers (that’s about a third of the national workforce) might have to find new occupations by 2030. That horizon’s not so far away now, is it?
How will we react to this? How do we continue to advance technology while ensuring that humans don’t suffer greatly? Social, financial, and political issues abound. Talk of a minimum guaranteed income is already heating up, for example. Former education minister Benoit Hamon says, “As work becomes scarcer, a modest but regular guaranteed income would stop people from fearing the future and free up their time for family, the needy and themselves.”
Once a month, we’ll tackle a topic related to the future of work, highlighting the most dramatic or impactful technologies or discussing the hard facts of the imminent future. Stay tuned as we explore the effects of this revolution of rapid growth.
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