A lot of traditional human work is getting automated, by machines or software.
- routine cognitive work is declining
- manufacturing production in the USA is increasing but jobs are not
- even the banking sector may see a 30% job reduction
- for example, Nordea Bank just cut its workforce in half
- in the oil & gas sector rigs are up, but employees are down
- to top it off, company lifespans are decreasing
I don’t know how much work will be automated or what sectors will be hit the hardest, as estimates by all experts vary widely. But I do know that people make bad computers and very unhappy robots. Therefore we should not compete with the machines for the type of work they do well, requiring — perseverance, compliance, intelligence, and diligence. There are some human attributes that machines are not very good at — intuition, empathy, creativity, and social intelligence.
As machines do more repeatable processes and even complicated work, people have to look at what we do best. Working socially, we can address barely repeatable processes for complex situations and over time make parts of them repeatable for the machines to handle. In addition, when we combine the analytical capabilities of machines, we can develop machine-assisted processes and tap into machine expertise in order to do even more complex and creative work.
In my opinion, this is the future of work. To prepare for it people have to develop social learning skills in addition to working in this machine-augmented world. We will have to play nice with other people, and play well with the machines. If a workplace is not optimized for humans working socially, it will be left behind.