Shaping our future, responsibly

By Alasdair Munn for Box News

We recently read an article in the New York Times titled The Hidden Automation Agenda of the Davos Elite. This topic is undoubtedly getting a lot of media attention. For the past two years, Box Media has been focusing on the future of work, specifically the real need to re-skill a workforce in the wake of automation, AI and the changing work landscape.

We find this article a little alarmist. Perhaps because we’ve been looking at this topic for a while … 

Looking to, and planning for, the future

As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, automation and intelligent systems will start to replace existing jobs. We will quickly find ourselves with a skills shortage for these new roles. We’re going to have an uncomfortable time of both job losses and skills shortages. 

 Businesses will struggle to adapt, and there will be real hardships for people who find themselves without work or the means to adapt, re-skill and refocus.

 To refer to this as a ‘hidden agenda’ thought up by greedy elite capitalists, as the New York Times did, is a little reductive and not entirely helpful. As this Forbes article points out “Over the past six decades, the average lifespan of an S&P 500 company has plunged from 58 years to 18 years.” 

For businesses today, staying put and not adapting is not an option. Companies have to adapt, and they have to disrupt, or newcomers will enter and do the adapting and disruption for them. The path towards automation and adaptive processes is set. Work, as we know it, will transform and be redefined. Businesses will seek out new ways of gaining efficiencies and advantages from technology.

Asking the right questions

We shouldn’t be blaming business for the hardship. Instead, we should be asking ‘how do we minimise or mitigate the hardship’?

How do we prepare for this transformation? What is the most effective way to re-skill and refocus our workforce? How do we create systems, processes and content that not only address these issues today but continues to address them in 5, 10, or 15 years?

 

These are big questions, ones we have been working on over the last few years. We don’t have all the answers, but we do know that the actions we take today are the ones that are shaping our future.

We are all, collectively, responsible for working towards a preferred future. One which is equitable, sustainable, fair and just. Now is the time for affirmative and meaningful action, not sensationalism and despair.