Future of Work / Channel 7 Sunrise

We are transitioning from Homo Sapiens to technologically tethered Homo Cyborg’s that will live to 120 and work to 100.

In this evolving world of tomorrow how we work, where, when, for whom and how will all change, as will the notion of work itself.

Beyond this is the reality that we will have 7 careers and 40 jobs, not in the traditional 9-5 manner of the last 150 years, but most likely a number of them undertaken simultaneously, some for income, some for career and self enhancement, some for philanthropy, some just for fun, but what we do know is that nothing will be as it was, but at its core it will still be Human-centric and still tied to the need of self fulfillment and purpose.

In this morning’s return to Channel 7’s Sunrise, I explore the future work landscape and answer what today’s kids need to do, to ready themselves for the world that will create, live in and grow.

 

The future of death & making contact from beyond the grave / ABC WA Drive

On the eve of ‘Dying to Know Day’- a day when we’re supposed to talk about planning for our deaths, ABC Perth’s Drive presenter Andrew and I used the opportunity to chat about the Future of Death, Dying, Cemeteries and Immortality.

Now I know this is a yuck topic for many, but its a fascinating insight into how our society has evolved over the last two decades in its approach to death, dying, burials and immortality.

As recently as 15 years ago most burials had a religious overtone and structure and we rarely questioned what they or the religious authorities deemed as proper this was an era of respect through ritual.

Over the last decade burials have become more about celebrating a person life, remembering their past and honouring their legacy. Ritual has given way to individuality. Each ceremony is often bespoke, built to meet the bereaved needs and increasingly incorporating less religion ritual and practice.

The notion of shopping around for undertakers and price comparing has also become ordinary and the industry is being forced to evolve to meet the demands of a changing culture.

As part of this new landscape is also the conversation of how do we continue to remember and respect the deceased. Where once we had portraits painted or pictures taken, passed on heirlooms and keepsakes, we are now experimenting with passing on our digital souls and digitally living forever.

Increasingly our past social media can speak for us into the future. Artificial intelligence may soon learn all about us and be able to continue to speak like us and for us long after we’re gone and holograms may show ghost like images of us long after we lived and in an early attempt to achieve this we have the recent example of the DadBot created by James Vlahos, containing 12 hours of recorded conversations with his father and many hours of programming to include his fathers phrases, thoughts and nuances that allows him to now speak to and hear from his father from beyond the grave, take a look:.

A fascinating and unusual chat about the Future of death and memorialisation and well worth a listen (5 mins 16 secs)…


 

What jobs will look like in 2050 / New Adelaide

Future Vision

When Neil Armstrong became the first person to step on the moon in 1969, we knew humanity was headed to places, and ideas, few had yet contemplated. Global leaders in space exploration have set their sights on Mars and commercial space flights could be on the cards for paying customers of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic by the end of 2018.

Ask futurist Morris Miselowski and he will tell you, by 2050, there will be new jobs for space exploration, space mining, space travel and even space hotels. “By 2050, we will definitely be in orbit,” he says.

Society has always evolved, often thanks to new inventions. First came the wheel, then the Gutenberg press, the light bulb, the telephone … the list goes on. Now, however, we see more than one technology emerging at a time and the pace of change becoming ever more rapid. Ten years ago, social media was a concept in its infancy and web designers were still “in vogue”. Today, Miselowski says, people depend on technology, whether it’s in the shape of mobile phones or pacemakers. “I believe already that we are homo cyborgs, not Homo sapiens, because we are so closely attached to technology,” he says.

The way we work and our skills are changing, too. Blue-collar jobs are being automated and white-collar, including bank clerks, accountants, lawyers and even engineers seem next in line for conversion as technology increasingly becomes capable of fulfilling repetitive tasks more accurately. Mathematicians use computers to figure out numbers, biologists solve problems through computer simulation, engineers use design programs for their creations and training is increasingly conducted in a virtual world.

By 2050, the 9-to-5 office job will be a thing of the past. Jobs will be flexible and task-driven and people will have multiple income streams, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicting the next generation will have, on average, about six careers in their working life.

Tonsley Innovation District precinct director Philipp Dautel says businesses of the future will be small and agile, rather than the “large mass employers of the past”. The Tonsley innovation hub, in Adelaide’s southern suburbs is living proof of the shift away from heavy manufacturing.

The 61ha precinct was the site of Mitsubishi’s car manufacturing plant until the last car rolled off the production line in 2008. Today, it is shaping to be something more like Australia’s first Silicon Valley. Under the original factory roof, start-up programs mix with cutting-edge research, large tech companies and educational institutions. A residential precinct is being developed nearby. “At Tonsley, we are providing the workspace of the future — a place where you can work, live and play,” Dautel says. “We are providing a supportive and flexible environment and plenty of collision spaces to foster collaboration and innovation.”

Collaboration could also affect our future leadership models. UniSA’s Dr Chad Chiu says the future will move away from a masculine, hierarchical and power-differentiated model to a shared leadership model.

“More and more studies have indicated that communal or power-equalising styles are indeed more effective,” he says. “If we agree that future leaders should adopt a different management approach, our job design should correspond to the change to assist managers to better supervise employees, such as using a flatter organisational design, installing flexible working hours, better allowing working-at-home, or sharing the jobs.”

Economics is a main driver behind the constant change, according to Flinders University Professor David Powers. The head of the Centre for Knowledge and Interaction Technology at the university says automation is not “a good or bad thing”, but it is necessary to compete in a global market. It is helping the West to compete with the Third World and “sweatshops in Asia” until those countries seek to advance.

The other force driving the change is the entertainment industry. “The biggest force for development of computer power, new hardware, algorithm and technology is actually the entertainment industry,” Powers says. “The changes in technology have largely been based on the aesthetics of the experience rather than promoting new capabilities.”

On the northern edge of Adelaide’s CBD sits one of its most futuristic-looking buildings. Often described as the cheesegrater (because of its diamond-shaped facade elements), the SA Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) has become the core of what will soon be the largest biomedical precinct in the southern hemisphere. Here, researchers are already using a strategy that, according to the institute’s deputy director Stephen Nicholls, will become common practice by 2050 in a bid to advance the health of the community. They work in teams to combine a broad range of expertise, from medicine to commerce, to ensure new research can be commercialised effectively and quickly. “We need big solutions to big problems and we need to do that by bringing people together,” says Professor Nicholls. “And that’s certainly something we’re trying to evolve with our research at SAHMRI.”

Health will be one of the most critical topics when it comes to the future. The ABS projects the country’s population could more than double from 24 million to 48.3 million by 2061, with the country’s age structure expected to change dramatically. About one in four Australians is expected to be aged over 65, and one in 14 will be over 85, by 2061. Growth in this age group has massive implications for health, housing and retirement income planning, with many Australians expected to work to a much older age than they do today.

Despite getting older, the population is also expected to be healthier. “What we considered elderly 20 years ago isn’t even elderly today. And what’s elderly in 2050 will be considerably older,” says Nicholls.

And yet, the way healthcare is being administered will have to change dramatically. “It’s going to become much more mobile, less centralised and less dependent on big hospitals for chronic disease management and so we’ll have to work out ways how we deliver healthcare where people are.” The fact that SA already has one of the oldest populations in the country could give this jurisdiction an advantage. “The state is already starting to understand that it needs to focus resources and attention on how we live in SA moving forward with a large proportion of elderly individuals,” Nicholls says. He believes several aspects of health will improve significantly by 2050, with new jobs being created as a result:

IMPROVED imaging will enable us to visualise the human body in greater detail.

THE ability to collect “big data” will enable us to predict epidemics.

GENETIC testing will become more affordable.

THE way a person is diagnosed and treated will be increasingly personalised.

Professor Nicholls says disease prevention and finding effective treatments will be the focus of the future. “We need to find effective ways to treat our patients but we need to do it without breaking the bank,” he says.

Miselowski predicts much of the job creation will be in the health sector in 2050. He deduces that nanomedics will be able to manipulate, change and cure the human body from the inside and surgeons will increasingly use robots to operate. People will carry an internal device that allows authorities to constantly monitor their wellbeing, and diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and cancer, will be better understood.

But it’s also in the aged care and nursing sector that humans, not machines, will play a lasting role. “We’re herd animals. We’re community oriented. We like to interact with other people, it’s hardwired into our DNA,” Miselowski says. “There are a lot of human interaction jobs that will continue to be part of our landscape but the tools they use and the way that they do it will not in any way, shape or form be how they’re doing it today.”

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The future of communication & the end of mobile phones / ABC It’s Just Not Cricket

Old Phone New Phone – It was just the anniversary of the passing of Alexander Graham Bell, and we wanted to return to the fascinating subject of phones. Futurist Morris Miselowski will tell us what’s going to happen to our phones in 2017 and beyond (I remember doing an interview a few years ago on the subject and we were promised phones would be part of our everyday clothes, it’ll be good to check out how that’s coming along! )and check out Glynn Greensmith of ABC’s It’s Just Not Cricket did in our semi-regular on-air catch up.

The notion of communication will of course continue, but mobile phones, will not be our device of choice for very much longer, in fact it hasn’t been for quite a while already.

The phone part of most of our mobile phones is often the least used function. Instead we receive / send IM and text messages, connect through apps, communicate through our devices using Siri / Cortina / Echo, swipe left and right and do all kinds of things to avoid picking up the phone and saying “hello”.

So in the future our single mobile will fracture into a myriad of embedded and carried devices, I predict we will all carry about 9 of these at any time in, on and around us , each device doing its own thing, measuring your needs and inputs and turning it into just in time / just for me outputs (directions, body temperature, things around you) and collectively acting like your own Digital Concierge (DC)overseeing your life and your needs.

In this world communication will be largely preemptive and triggered by our tech on our behalf, we will talk and gesture in response and never be quite sure what we are talking to, but having confidence that we have been heard, by our needs and wants being met.

Another great Glynn Greensmith conversation about a new era in tech that we will soon be all around us, so have a listen now (11 mins 07 sec) …

Our education system isn’t future ready / ABC Nightlife

The current education system, as great as it once might have been (and that’s debatable), is no longer up to the heavy lifting of tomorrow’s employment and life landscapes.

It was custom-built for on an industrial revolution model of work and prepared students for a known world, where work and careers were set and teaching systematically towards known outcomes made perfect sense.

It was a world where we taught just in case, where the learner had to be self-sufficient and filled to the brim with lots of information, just in case they ever needed it.

In this world, rote learning, remembering and recalling were all important, but today and tomorrow we have to know the basics, what to look for and how to look for it and then trust that technology will fill us with just in time, just enough, just for me skills and knowledge top ups we need to carry out new tasks and daily life.

In this space children have to be given more than just the 3 R’s, we owe it to them to teach them the far more practical skills of being human – the 4 C’s Collaboration, Community, Creativity and Communication.

Many of todays blue and white-collar workers have already been made redundant by technology as we see the jobs that rely solely on the completion of repetitive tasks (bookkeepers, law clerks, drivers, shop assistants, cashiers etc) disappear.

When technology replaces all the mundane and the ordinary in the workplace all that is left is for us to say HI! (Human Interaction). In this new landscape humans will need to create, interpret, make sense of, imagine and do humans things that are not easily replicated by machines.

And this is where I picked up the conversation with ABC Nightlife’s Phil Clark in our semi regular catch up, exploring all things education and careers.

A really stimulating and thought-provoking discussion and one that we need far more of and thankfully  tonnes of callers agreed, so have a listen now and then continue the Future of Education debate here and elsewhere.

ABC Nightlife, Phil Clark (49 mins 29 secs)