Thought Pieces

Work in the Age of Intelligent Machines

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Financial Times UK
Martin Wolf

How do you organise a society in which few people do anything economically productive?

As long ago as 1984, in his Paths to Paradise, André Gorz, a self-proclaimed “revolutionary-reformist” stated, baldly, that the “micro-economic revolution heralds the abolition of work”. He even argued that “waged work . . . may cease to be a central preoccupation by the end of the century”. His timing was wrong. But serious analysts think he was directionally right. So what might a world of intelligent machines mean for humanity? Will human beings become as economically irrelevant as horses? If so, what will happen to our individual self-worth and the organisation of our societies?

Read the full article

Post a Comment »

The future of work won’t be about college degrees, it will be about job skills

Thursday, 8 November 2018

CNBC
Stephane Kasriel

Twenty million students started college this fall, and this much is certain: The vast majority of them will be taking on debt — a lot of debt. What’s less certain is whether their degrees will pay off.

According to the survey Freelancing in America 2018, released Wednesday, freelancers put more value on skills training: 93 percent of freelancers with a four-year college degree say skills training was useful versus only 79 percent who say their college education was useful to the work they do now. In addition, 70 percent of full-time freelancers participated in skills training in the past six months compared to only 49 percent of full-time non-freelancers. The fifth annual survey, conducted by research firm Edelman Intelligence and co-commissioned by Upwork and Freelancers Union, polled 6,001 U.S. workers.

Read the full article 

Post a Comment »

Money for Nothing

Monday, 3 September 2018

The New Republic
Atossa Abrahamian

Some years ago, I had a colleague who would frequently complain that he didn’t have enough to do. He’d mention how much free time he had to our team, ask for more tasks from our boss, and bring it up at after-work drinks. He was right, of course, about the situation: Although we were hardly idle, even the most productive among us couldn’t claim to be toiling for eight (or even five, sometimes three) full hours a day. My colleague, who’d come out of a difficult bout of unemployment, simply could not believe that this justified his salary. It took him a long time to start playing along: checking Twitter, posting on Facebook, reading the paper, and texting friends while fulfilling his professional obligations to the fullest of his abilities.

The idea of being paid to do nothing is difficult to adjust to in a society that places a high value on work. Yet this idea has lately gained serious attention amid projections that the progress of globalization and technology will lead to a “jobless” future

Read the full article

Post a Comment »

Consumers fear tech will fuel loneliness even as they embrace it

Monday, 3 September 2018

CNET
Connie Guglielmo

It’s hard to know what the future will bring, but a majority of US consumers think that five decades from now, we’ll all be overly dependent on tech and spend less time interacting with each other.

At the same time, consumers believe tech makes our lives easier and are most enthusiastic about where things are headed with computers, smartphones and smart home gear.

Those are the top takeaways from a study by Intel that in May asked 1,000 adult consumers in the US — including 102 described as “tech elites” — what they’re excited and concerned about when it comes to technology over the next 50 years.

Read the full article

Post a Comment »

Curiosity and What Equality Really Means

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

The New Yorker
Atul Gawande

I want to start with a story. One night, on my surgery rotation, during my third year of medical school, I followed my chief resident into the trauma bay in the emergency department. We’d been summoned to see a prisoner who’d swallowed half a razor blade and slashed his left wrist with the corner of the crimp on a toothpaste tube. He was about thirty, built like a boxer, with a tattooed neck, hands shackled to the gurney, and gauze around his left wrist showing bright crimson seeping through.

The first thing out of his mouth was a creepy comment about the chief resident, an Asian-American woman. I won’t say what he said. Just know he managed in only a few words to be racist, sexist, and utterly menacing to her. She turned on her heels, handed me the clipboard, and said, “He’s all yours.”

I looked at the two policemen with him to see what they were going to do. I don’t know what I expected. That they’d yell at him? Beat him? But they only looked at me impassively, maybe slightly amused. He was all mine.

So what now?

Read the full article

Post a Comment »

In a world of digital nomads, we will all be made homeless

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The Guardian
John Harris

Whose utopia is this, when people have to sever emotional links and leave where they grew up to find dependable work?

The office-space empire WeWork was founded eight years ago in New York. It currently leases 240,000 sq metres of real estate in London alone, which reportedly makes it the city’s largest user of offices after the British government. The basic deal is simple enough: you can either pay to put your laptop wherever there is space, or stump up a little more for a more dependable desk or entire office – and, in either case, take advantage of the fact that, with operations in 20 countries, WeWork offers the chance to traverse the planet and temporarily set up shop in no end of locations.

Part of the WeWork idea, moreover, is that a place to toil is only part of what is on offer. As well as your workspace, there will be free beer on tap, regular yoga and pilates sessions, and more. As the working day winds on and such distractions – along with the necessity of meeting other footloose hotshots, and comparing “projects” – take up more of your time, a couple of questions might spring to mind: what is work, and what is leisure? And does the distinction even count for much any more?

Read the full article

Post a Comment »

"Best Conference EVER" - Micenet Australia Magazine