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2. The Future of Work - AI, a guaranteed basic income, and more

Last time we focused mainly on the changes happening to work. This time we will focus more on the ways in which our societies are responding to these changes. Is it responding well or not? How can we prepare for the changes?

will people work fewer hours in the future?

will there be more people working remotely?

will people still have jobs in the future?

will many people be replaced by machines?

should we worry about the AI?


Universal Basic Income

The idea of replacing benefits and tax credits with UBI has huge intuitive appeal. No means-testing of benefits, and thus no families stuck in poverty traps where benefit withdrawal erodes any increase in earnings. No out-of-work claimants afraid to take up short-term job offers for fear of losing benefit entitlement. No intrusive testing of benefit eligibility, no punitive sanctions regime, no jobcentre advisers hassling people to apply for the lowest-paid jobs. No fraud and no gaming the system. Most of the bureaucracy of the welfare system swept away. And the possibility for everyone to take time out of employment as and when they want to and for as long as they want to, answerable to no one. If this all sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.

Why Boomers Can't Quit

Even before the financial crisis, many baby boomers hadn't saved enough for retirement. Then stocks plummeted. In 1998, the average 50-year-old who had been working for at least 10 years had a 401(k) balance of $85,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Factor in the recent market drop, and more than a decade later, that worker's 401(k) has grown to just $93,000. In short, we keep getting older, but our 401(k) balances, they stay the same.,28804,1898024_1898023_1898077,00.html

Workplace Structures

Forget the rigid corporate ladder ? now the corporate lattice allows free-flowing ideas and career pathsBrowse the business section of any bookshop and you’ll find dozens of titles promising to share the secret to climbing the corporate ladder. But the day is not far off when such books will seem as quaint and outmoded as a housekeeping manual from the 1950s.

One of the key workplace trends of the 21st century has been the collapse of the corporate ladder, whereby loyal employees climbed towards the higher echelons of management one promotion at a time. Cathy Benko, vice-chairman of Deloitte in San Francisco and co-author of The Corporate Lattice, says that the ladder model dates back to the industrial revolution, when successful businesses were built on economies of scale, standardisation and a strict hierarchy. “But we don’t live in an industrial age, we live in a digital age. And if you look at all the shifts taking place, one [of the biggest] is the composition of the workforce, which is far more diverse in every way,” she says.

Artificial Intelligence
The robots are coming and if the forecasts are correct, they could sound the death knell for millions of jobs. In recent years, automation has become increasingly prevalent. We think nothing of paying for groceries at a scanner or transferring money on a screen without going into a bank. We’ve grown accustomed to the idea of self-driving cars and computers that can talk to us. 

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  • Sam G.

    Sorry everyone, can't make it today. Hope the discussion goes well, and have a good Christmas!

    4h ago

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