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Star-Scale Master - Image
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The fourth industrial revolution has already begun. Bio- and nanotechnology, 3D printing, genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, crowdsourcing and much more are lining the road ahead of us with alluring, wonderful and sometimes daunting prospects. There is no turning back, and while we are rapidly rushing into the unknown, we will try to understand what lies ahead.

"Kodak" on the island of oblivion

What seemed solid and unshakable yesterday may turn to dust today. Technology is changing our world more rapidly than ever before, and the speed of this change is constantly increasing. Once upon a time, the Kodak company employed about 140 thousand people and its capitalization was 28 billion dollars. Today it has become quite small, and some young people have not even heard of this once world famous brand. In the same 2012, when Kodak tried to save itself from bankruptcy by selling everything it could, Instagram was bought by Facebook for a billion dollars. At that time, only 13 people worked on Instagram, this Internet analogue of the photo giant.

Some ten years ago, renowned economists Frank Levy and Richard Mournane published a book in which they passed judgment on many professions. The authors argued that in the future, many modern professions will be of no use to anyone. They also identified a number of specialties that will remain afloat for a very long time. And one of them is a truck driver. This area is so specific that it is practically not subject to automation, experts said. In the same year, the Agency for Advanced Study began a competition for a self-driving car. And now, in a few years, such machines will be used everywhere. Such facts make one think - is it worth trusting the opinion of such "visionaries"?

The Forbes magazine experts were also seriously mistaken, who in 2010 talked about professions with a terrible or wonderful future in 2020. A good half of the specialties that gurus predicted will be popular in the future have already disappeared. Experts consistently make mistakes in their forecasts again and again. Therefore, we can only assess some trends, not forgetting that everything will be different. What we are sure of will not come true, but what we don’t even guess about will certainly appear.

The winner will take it all

So, about the main trends. The "polarization of the labor market" is now in full swing. The most demanded are low-skilled specialties, which are not profitable to entrust to machines, and super-highly qualified, which machines have not yet mastered. Distribution is very often done on a winner-take-all basis. Likewise, in the near future, talents will be rewarded extremely generously, and everyone else will be content with almost nothing.

There is a hypothesis that 70% of children who go to first grade this year will work in a specialty that simply does not exist today. In other words, in 10 years, most of today's professions and specialties simply will not exist.

It will happen everyday, without drama, for example, like this: US universities graduate about 45 thousand lawyers every year, and the need for them already in 2013 was only 25 thousand. In five years, only five thousand people will be able to find jobs in this area. And this is logical, because most of the work of a lawyer is related to the analysis and preparation of documents. And this is much more accurate, cheaper and faster than artificial intelligence. For example, one lawyer in America, using the intelligence of machines, today wins hundreds of lawsuits a year. Only law firms with dozens of lawyers can boast of such performance.

“What's the use of just being hard-working? Look at the ants. "

American poet and philosopher Henry Thoreau

In the hands of a metal surgeon

Any work that can be automated will be taken over by robots. For example, you can automate all operations that require repetition. This means that office and administrative professions, many specialties in agriculture and the service sector will disappear without a trace.

The highest chances to "survive" are those professions that, by the nature of their activities, are associated with human relationships. Among them are social workers, nurses, psychologists and similar specialties. But, remembering the fate of truck drivers, whose profession will cease to exist in the near future, we should put forward a hypothesis that any field of activity can be replaced by robots or disappear altogether, and then try to refute it.

Let's take surgeons, for example. Just for a moment, imagine that any kind of surgery would be better done by robots. Either the surgical operations themselves will radically change, and a person will only have to swallow a handful of nanorobots, which will repair the body from the inside, without cuts, blood and the risk of infection. In this case, will you be able to find arguments against a metal surgeon with twenty "hands" who performs a dozen of the most complicated operations per hour?

Life without an alarm clock

There will never be more work for people, or at least as much as today. On the contrary, it is getting smaller and smaller every hour.

Now states are trying to find jobs in order to reduce the degree of social tension, and sometimes in an absurd way. For example, in some Asian countries large numbers of low-skilled workers are recruited to build roads, while this could be done faster and cheaper using technology. But three hundred years ago Voltaire said that “work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and want,” therefore the main goal of such work is precisely to involve people.

However, it cannot last so long, and soon it will be cheaper to provide people with guaranteed funds for living, sufficient for a comfortable life without any excesses. Many of us will only be able to do what we really want to do. You won't have to get up early in the morning and run to work, although, of course, some people will have an acute problem - what to do, how to kill time?

You heard that recently you wanted to introduce basic payments for living in Switzerland, but 77% of people in the referendum said no. They decided that such payments would create a class of parasites. But this is rather a misconception, and in the next few years we will receive confirmation of this. Starting next year, such an experiment will begin in Finland: 10 thousand Finns will receive 600 euros a month without red tape and obligations for two years. A similar experiment is being prepared in Holland, several private firms in America, all calculations have already been carried out in Great Britain. People are expected to seek and create activities for themselves, rather than lying on couches.

Reach for the star

Some professions, although they will remain in the future, will approach the "stellar" ones - in these fields it will be possible to achieve success, but very difficult. The "star" list will include musicians, writers and actors. It will be possible to stay in such professions only by becoming famous.

In the meantime, here are a few recommendations that will prepare us for what lies ahead

learn English

This is the most obvious, first and easiest thing - learn English to increase your chances of a decent job. If everything is already alright with English, go to Chinese.

Follow the trends

Watch what is happening around. There are so many changes that you should devote at least ten minutes a day to it and find out what's new. Now more than ever it is easy to "fall out of life" and just as difficult to catch up with progressive trends.

Learn, be ready to learn constantly, love and know how to do it

The very first skill is to learn to think and develop critical thinking. Critical thinking allows you to understand a situation quickly and confidently, to distinguish good from bad, worthwhile from waste paper. This is an invaluable quality for all time.

Get to know yourself, your desires and aspirations

This does not require any special tests; you can just think, dream, imagine. At any moment in time, when you see the prospects, you should say: “No, this is not mine and I don’t need it,” but when you see “yours”, take it quickly, decisively and uncompromisingly.

Use your imagination

This is one of the best skills. Our brain is well adapted for this activity, and we must use it. This is our advantage over machines, at least for now.

The world of technology is becoming more perfect, and the social structure of our life as a whole remains the same primitive-feudal, with a class of super-rich people with unlimited power and everyone else. Inevitably, it will come to humanitarian technologies that will turn society and make public life fairer, safer and happier. We can't even describe to ourselves what it will be like. There are incredible miracles and adventures ahead of us, and what we can do (now called work) will be limited only by our imaginations.

More about this

  • Bond M., Howgego J. I work, therefore I am // New Scientist, 25 June 2016.
  • Dormehl L. The formula: how algorithms solve all our problems… and create more. New York: A Perigee book, 2014.
  • Levy F., Murnane RJ The new division of labor: how computers are creating the next job market. New York, Princeton, NJ: Russell Sage Foundation: Princeton University Press, 2004.
  • White J. Nice work, if you can get it // New Scientist, 25 June 2016.

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