So far, humans have gone through two employment-shifting events: The introduction of agriculture and the industrial revolution. These shifts changed how we operated as a society and how we looked at work. We are currently in the throes of another shift, the technological revolution. Thanks to our ever-heightening technological advances, our work world (and our home world) is dramatically changing. Our grandchildren’s jobs will be very different from our grandparents’ and will feature technology we can’t even imagine yet. What will that society look like? What steps can we take to ensure the new economy and society is not grossly unequal and our next generations are ready to manage the new environment?
If you look at the way the work world is moving, you can see what the future will likely look like. Automation is replacing manufacturing roles, artificial intelligence is changing existing finance roles, permanent positions are being replaced by contract and part-time work and job stability is a much rarer thing. Because of this coming reality, entrepreneurship is becoming a stronger force and of greater interest to workers. The ability to head your own company appeals to a large section of the working population. In fact, a study done by the University of Phoenix School of Business found that half of working adults either ran their own business or had aspirations of starting one and the interest levels were higher in the younger generations. It is likely that the work world and economy of the future will see more small companies making their way to the marketplace.
As we continue along this path, we need to make sure that people are still able to participate in the work world. The question then becomes: How do we create a culture in which people can pursue their entrepreneurial dreams? The solution: Introduce a universal basic income (UBI) so people have the foundation from which they can build their startup. Studies by institutions like the Mowat Centre in Toronto show UBI has the real potential to increase entrepreneurship, as it gives people the financial base necessary to pursue their dreams, and case studies done testing UBI have seen an increase in entrepreneur levels. UBI has the real potential to remake our economy and save us from a future of mass unemployment and poverty.
One definite is the fact that the work world of tomorrow (and the day after that) will feature technology that will dramatically change how the actual work is accomplished. Although we cannot fully prepare ourselves to manage this not-yet-created technology, we can ensure that the workers of tomorrow are prepared. Education will be vital, as workers will need to know both how to manage technology and how to communicate in an increasingly global world. More importantly, we need to learn how to be innovative with the new technology. This is how the successful startups will be created: By innovators seeing a new way to use technology and bringing it to the masses. Today’s youth are technologically savvy and, with the right push, they will create the innovations that will change the world again.
As 2017 draws to an end, it makes sense to look ahead and see what could be coming in our future. Technology has set us on the fast track and everything in our world is changing radically because of this. If we harness it properly, we could create a healthier economy and better world for everyone, one where we are all productive and happy members of society. Education, basic income and entrepreneurship are the steps that will lead to this bright future. Do you agree?