During the Australian Christmas break we thought we’d reach out into some holiday reading.
“Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work” by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, touches on some interesting concepts, which are particularly relevant if the apocalyptical end of compliance is even half way true.
In this book, Nick and Alex put forward that Automation and unemployment are increasingly likely. They cite the example of the industrial sector having just 1,000 robots in 1970 and over 1.6 million today. Robots and automation is certainly on the increase. And yes, we’re all waiting on cars and trucks that drive themselves, and drones that deliver pizzas from the sky. It must be close.
Automation must also be impacting the service industry as well. More recently we’ve seen the comment that chefs, construction workers and stock analyst positions are under threat. Did you see the brick laying robot that can lay 1,000 bricks an hour, or the robot that can cook 2,000 meals?
Nick and Alex surmise that detailed esimates of the labour market trajectory suggest that between 47 to 80 percent of today’s jobs could be automated in the future. It’s been suggested that people will work specialty areas or extra long hours in order to keep their jobs (yes, this already happens in compliance). There have even been comments that somewhat cynically some workers will be kept on meaningless activities in an attempt to keep them busy. Only 13 percent of workers worldwide report their jobs as engaging. A fully 87 percent indicate their work is degrading, draining and a downright stressful necessity.
Certainly there is the expectation that people have greater freedom away from monotonous jobs and home lives. Sadly we seem to have filled this with social media, and the ability to comment destructively on complete stranger’s lives. Technology itself seems to have blurred the separation between work and life (not work and home!). Many full time workers now report that they work over 45 hours a week, considering their attachment to their iPhones and other technological devices.
Over to some of our economists and John Maynard Keynes argued that no-one would have to work longer than a 15 hour week by 2030. And that’s only 12 years away!
The next dozen years will be interesting, and whether our economists have it right I guess only time will tell. For sure the compliance of the future is going to be a lot different to what we know today.