Last week we discussed the future and the role foresight plays in preparing ourselves for the future ahead. We also discussed the anxiety that can arise when we begin to think about the possibilities the future may hold.
As futurists, our job is not to be fortune tellers or prophets of what is to come, but rather to bring an awareness of what may be in store and create a brushstroke of possibilities. The further out we are looking into the future, the broader the brushstroke because of the multiplication of variables that come into play.
Even for you, when you are making plans, you can commit to a decision or a course of action for tomorrow much easier than you can in a month. The reason is that there are fewer variables between today and tomorrow, and the brush stroke is much smaller and more focused.
Unfortunately, too many ‘experts’ fall victim to the draw of sensationalism, which causes them to draw nearer to the more catastrophic, disruptive, and shocking possibilities of the future. A good futurist presents the possibilities based on the higher probabilities.
This is why I appreciated an article I found in the magazine NewScientist regarding the role of artificial intelligence in the job market. (Robots Won’t Be Taking Your Job) Much of the talk about the future lately has been on artificial intelligence moving into many job sectors and replacing human beings. Though there is truth to this possibility, there has been a palpable doomsday feel within many of these predictions.
In the NewScientist article, the author presents the findings from a new study done by accountancy firm PwC revealing a potential net gain of 200,000 jobs by 2037 in the UK. Though there will be a displacement of 7 million jobs by AI and robotics, the existence of the technology will actually bring a need for more jobs than what will be lost, 7.2 million. Many of these jobs will be in the health, scientific and technical service fields, and hospitality. The areas that will be hit most will be manufacturing, transport and storage, and public administration.
Now, I realize, if you are already in one of these fields that will be hit, this may feel like a bit of a doomsday article. As a futurist, though, what is being said is not that the sky is falling and everyone is going to lose their jobs to AI as some articles tell us. It is, instead, presenting research that reveals a better job market over the course of 20 years. It is also equipping its readers to be aware of the research, understand the trend, and begin now to make the adjustments necessary to be on the right side of the equation before 2037.
Does this mean we will need to make changes? Absolutely.
Will it be easy? Probably not.
But, at least we have clarity of perspective, understanding of the objectives, and focus of our attention. Now the question is left up to us: What will we do with this information?
If you are in one of the fields that will be hit the hardest, will you begin now to prepare for a career change?
If you are in one of the fields that will see growth, are you prepared for the growth? Will you be ready to take advantage of the opportunities?
If you are in neither, is it time to invest your time, money, efforts, talents, and resources into one of the areas that will see growth? This is where foresight of the future gets fun. When we can take advantage of opportunities and take action to shape our own futures.
One response you should not have to this article is fear. You are equipped early enough in the process that you have time to make adjustments. The only thing you should be fearful of is whether or not you will take action. Those who are informed and equipped to take action and fail to do so, invest in their own demise. I don’t want to see that be your reality.
This is one of the reasons Modern Inklings exists. To inform, equip, and train individuals and organizations to be ready for whatever the future holds.
So, keep reading our Field Notes, peering into the future, and dreaming about all the possibilities that lie right in front of you.