Ok, so this has been in my ‘drafts’ folder for some time. I keep changing my mind on the answers, I reserve the right to change my mind later today, tomorow and as many times as I like. Core things that I don’t think I will change my mind on for things that are important to the future:
- We all need to actively seek out those who are different to us, who think differently to us & keep our networks diverse. Even those whose opinion offends us. Especially those whose opion offends us. We may never agree, but we need to listen.
- Tackling inequality is key to everyone’s success and ability to thrive. I don’t just mean just the ‘protected characteristics’ – we need to consider economic equality, equality of information, skills / motivation to question that information, basic digital skills & competencies, a framework of employment law that fits old & new jobs & probably lots of other things I haven’t thought of.
- The future is already here & it is everyone’s business, make sure you are paying attention, & don’t be afraid to fail, if you are going to work effectively.
1. What roles or tasks can’t be automated?
Anything where actual human interaction adds value to the experience – whether that is a product or a service. People can tell if it’s not real. This episode of ‘Digital Human’ here discusses the micro work that fixes the bits that AI can’t do & the implications for jobs. Things may have moved on a bit since this was first broadcast, but still worth a listen also to find out what the invisible Girlfriend service is all about, but that’s a whole other blog.
2. What roles shouldn’t be automated?
Anything where human interaction makes people / other creatures happier.
3. Financial markets, left to their own devices, aren’t good at accommodating a greater social purpose – do we need to take more of an interventionist stance to ensure greater societal benefit?
Who would be making the intervention? We need enough individuals to be bold, take responsibility for informed choices & create movements that make change possible. In this way they will hold the markets to account. See leadership lessons from the dancing man – here.
4. At what point do we stop running out of corporate scandals? How can we get more proactive at asking difficult questions of organisations as employees and consumers?
People have to care enough and be connected enough to ask the difficult questions. Even then I don’t think we will ever run out of corporate scandals, but maybe we will get better at holding them to account.
5. Does an organisation with a social purpose have an advantage or a limitation?
If measuring by positive social impact, as well as money, an advantage and key to working out how to deal with “a sustained period of low growth and high inequality” (thersa.org) It is, ultimately, better for everyone to widen the definition of economic success to ‘inclusive growth’ – that is growth that addresses both the economic and social.
6. What work might be most impacted by changes in international border policy or digitisation making borders redundant?
Border patrol? Security? Fences? I’m guessing on this one – can you tell?
7. Who is accountable for my wellbeing?
Me, mostly. Exceptions are that sometimes I might not well enough to do that. Also, not everyone has equal access to resources & information and equal confidence to access them. Not everyone is equally confident to or motivated to question what they are being told.
I once was on a well known diet and, never mind loose weight, I put it on. Turns out all the ‘healthy’ food you can eat is full of sugar. I didn’t question the diet – I trused the industry that was selling me this stuff. Turns out eating as much ‘fat free’ (sugar full) yoghurt as you like isnt good for you!
As an employer I am responsible for safe working conditions and not exploiting others who are vulnerable.
8. If my employer is responsible for making sure I’m not under undue stress – then am I responsible for managing my diet to ensure I’m delivering peak performance?
I am responsible for my diet*. I am responsible for being able to carry out my job to the agreed acceptible standards. Noticing that I am under stress is a joint responsibility.
*see also q 7.
9. Can you automate creativity – and if so will we still only feel something is creative if it is produced by a human?
No and yes. Was my first answer and then I remembered that an Algorave is a thing. Now I’m not sure.
10. How do we balance the concepts of diversity with the drive for cultural fit?
We make our culture one of valuing diversity. We reward and celebrate diversity of ideas, approaches and people.
11. Is the Gen X,Y,Z & millennial terminology helpful for understanding or lazy stereotyping?
Stereotyping gets us through the day without having to think about every single interaction. But, we need to be aware that we are doing it and be open minded enough to ensure that we don’t have a fixed mindset about people and that we keep our networks diverse – here’s a blog I made earlier.
12. What’s the point of work? To get happiness? Make a difference? Recognition? Will the point of work change and how might it do so?
Money. Social. Purpose.
The value that work brings may change. The value will be in the things that can’t be downloaded or what they bots can’t do – and that is rapidly changing too.
How to survive work in the 21st Century (thank you to @mjcarty for sharing this article)
Humans need new skills in a post AI world
13. How do we step away from a 9-5 working week construct together?
Some jobs have never been 9-5 – hospitality, security, being One Direction. Where they are not 9-5 we need to ensure support in place to allow everyone who wants to / is able to participate in work.
Equally, where jobs don’t have to be 9-5 this can be a good thing for all sorts of reasons – health, caring for dependents, traffic. For these jobs we need to stop managing when and where and start managing outcomes.
14. How much longer will income and wage inequality be tolerated by those on the wrong side of the stats?
Until they realise that they have a voice. See Brexit.
15. How many more years of casual sexism in workplaces do we have before that dies a death?
Too many. Although more of us are now stopping to notice -See the Everyday Sexism project http://everydaysexism.com
16. If whole chunks of your life are viewable on the internet will we become more tolerating of mistakes at work?
or… do we get more savvy about curating our life and images we want others to see?
17. The image of everyone working on the beach is an attractive one – but what does this mean for introverts or people with mobility issues?
I don’t want to work on the beach. I dont think anyone really wants to work on the beach, unless they’re a marine biologist or have a beach bar. Or hire out sunbeds.
18. Do I own my data or am I just a data point?
Unless I haven’t read the small print, I own my data and my data is valuable. Always read the small print.
19. You can already automate ‘congratulations’ messages on Linkedin. How much effort can you remove from a gesture before it becomes meaningless?
If I have to put zero effort or thought into the act, not even pushing a button.
20. If I can outsource work cheaply to another country is that simply the free market in action (and an easy decision) or should I care more about the wellbeing of people I already employ?
You should care about the people you employ, wherever they are. You should care more about the people you already employ, wherever they are.
21. If work is to become more transient (the gig economy) then who takes responsibility for long term capability building of people? If I’m only with an organisation for 6 months then why would they invest in me?
Me. But I might charge more for what I am doing.
Also what is the role of wider society, law & education to encourage people to think differently?
“We have no idea what the jobs of the future will be. Jobs that once seemed secure no longer are. But the more that societies can invest in human capital – including the ability to be adaptive – the better we can adjust, and the better the outcome for society as a whole.” Hamish McRae @TheIndyBusiness September 2016
22. The more we understand about the mind the easier it is to manipulate it. How do we build in ethical safeguards within organisations?
Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. We need to give even more weight to the values that drive our decision making and keep a eye on the future – a bit of healthy catastrophizing perhaps to ask ‘what if…?’ If only John Hammond had thought it through…
(I know this is much used, but I can’t think of a better way to sum it up. Also any excuse to revisit Jurassic Park is a good one now that I have mostly conquered my phobia of raptors.)
23. How much do we really know about the organisations that curate the world’s information and present it back to you and how much do you need to know?
Not enough. More. Seriously – get interested, keep your networks diverse, this is shaping your world, your thoughts and values. Take the time to ask questions, especially of the things that you agree with.
24. Is happiness a legitimate business and economic outcome?
25. What is the best way for groups to create influence and make a difference in a digital age?
View groups as individuals motivated around an issue / passion. Harness this and you can make stuff happen. Whether or not others agree with the stuff that you are making happen is a different matter.
26. Why do organisational IT solutions still tend to be more expensive yet less useful than consumer solutions?
I don’t know. Just use the consumer solutions.
27. Does the age of automation mean that a universal basic payment to all is required?
Or should it be required anyway, regardless of automation? Has it become more urgent because of automation?
Should we scrap benefits and pay everyone £100 a week? @johnharris1969 The Guardian April 2016
28. When we do save time where does it go? For all the automation and efficiency I don’t hear many people saying they have more time to relax
Work expands to fill the time available?
Ego/ Busy = important?
29. What aspects of our behaviour is it appropriate to legislate for? Is restricting access to company communications after hours unnecessarily interfering or saving us from ourselves?
That wouldn’t work for me, I don’t work regular hours. However I only send emails in regular hours. Be considerate to others, especially if you’re a role model for others.
30. Will you ever want a consoling hug from a robot?
No. Not even a Gary Barlow bot.
31. Why are so many organisations already designed and led as though the workers are robots?
I genuinely don’t know why we want to take the humanity out of work – but it happens, maybe its easier in the short term. Taylorism and scientific management led us to treat people as just more cogs in the process.
In the long term more awesome things happen when you leave the humanity in, but it is messier.
32. What does not having to leave your home to work, socialise or shop do to fitness levels over time?
That depends on what you let it do. Shirley?
33. What are the chances the world left by this generation will be better than the one left to us?
As a hopeless optimist I believe people generally want good things to happen. Awful things have always happened, young people always want that not to happen. Older people need to reconnect with their younger self.
34. Do children entering school need to read or write – or will those be surplus skills by the team they leave school?
Of course. My five year old likes pokemon go (bad parenting) but he LOVES anything by Roald Dahl too. Yes, they need to read & write.
35. What are the issues that we are sleepwalking towards now that we will regret not taking action on sooner? (thanks to Siobhan Sheridan at the NSPCC for this)
As parents, our children hating that we have posted every aspect of their lives on Facebook (or similar).
Not recognising & calling out the pervasiveness of misogyny on social media.
Being surprised that massive parts of our populations are pissed off when our social media feeds are full of Kardashians etc
36. What are the opportunities that we will regret taking?
37. How much of our enhanced technical capability will be channeled into solving societal problems and how much into increasing profits?
That’s up to us? I’m lucky, I get to see &I work with people who are passionate about solving societal problems, tech is one way of opening up all sorts of opportunities.
38. How do you get a mortgage in the ‘Gig Economy’?
I’ll be honest, I don’t know. Financial services need to keep up with changes to work.
39. Does the Sharing Economy really share – or does it just collect a smaller margin from a larger volume of workers that are dependent? If we called it the Snaring Economy would it be such a popular concept?
No, that wouldn’t be so popular. It’s a nice, romantic, idea. Is it maybe alongside the rise in the ‘mumprenuer’? I know far too many women suddenly made ‘redundant’ when they have children who have no choice but to go down this route. Not a lifestyle choice, but a necessity due to inflexible working practices & mindsets.
40. When Prof Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and others describe AI as a potentially extinction level threat why do people think they are overstating it? When did we start thinking we had a better grasp on big issues than Stephen Hawking?
41. How confident are you really that the Financial Services industry is now running as it should.
42. How can we help design roles and organisations that make the most of people?
Stop ‘designing’ roles. Create / encourage a culture where people make the most of themselves for the benefit of the organisation. Stop giving bad manager processes that make it easy to stick people in boxes. While I’m at it – do something about the bad managers.
43. What are the implications of the current level of gender imbalance within the tech sector over the next decade?
Everyone uses tech. Without a major part of the population in that conversation how can it be developed in a way that works for all?
44. Much of the technology we utilise on a day to day basis would struggle to meet most people’s definition of an ethical supply chain. When do we start making different purchasing decisions?
When we stop to question the impact of our purchasing decisions. Many people don’t , some people do. We need more people to question more – I include myself.
45. What are the best sources of information on the changing world of work and how can we ensure the independent voices are heard when organisations with the biggest budgets will be looking to exploit this space?
46. People frequently talk about wanting more equality and higher living standards for others – yet how many people would give up, for instance, 25% of their salary in order to improve the living standards of others?
Honestly? probably not many. However, we can all contribute to closing the gap in terms of money, but also health equality and equality of opportunity. In my city there are massive differences in life expectancy from one area to another. The reasons are complex. Joining up public services / third sector will help. Working better together will help. I won’t lie, a bit more money would probably help too. Basic Universal Income could help.
47. How will we filter content effectively in the future and how open to abuse is that filtering process?
Totally open to abuse. We have a responsibility to keep our networks diverse & seek out people with different opinions. We are all subject to being ‘lazy & narcissistic’ (Ibarra) If we are not vigilant the algorithms feed this and we don’t even notice. People programme the computers & people have agendas.
48. How do the business role models of the future act?
With integrity. Not exploiting the most vulnerable for profit. Working to close the gaps.
49. People cry when their pets die. What will be the first piece of technology that you cry over the loss of?
I look back with fondness at fighting over the massive BBC computer at school so that we could programme a ‘turtle’ to draw a pentagon, but I can’t imagine crying over any tech. However I haven’t experienced tech with personality, yet.
I’ve seen starships...
50. If you had one contribution to make to making things just a little better over the next decade what would it be?