Reading the signals: Will we make automation our friend or foe?

Sensemaking / Reading the signals: Will we make automation our friend or foe?

These signals show how digital capabilities are revolutionising the world of work, urging society and industry to adapt. What opportunities do you see to rethink why we we work, and how?

By Anna Simpson / 10 Mar 2016

Since the launch of the 2014 Pew report AI, Robotics, and the Future of Jobs, much mainstream debate has been about the threat to employment. Where will the jobs of the future come from, if service jobs and jobs in the ‘knowledge economy’ are automated? We could be thinking much more about the role of work in our lives and in our societies, and what sort of lives we want for ourselves and generations to come. How many hours will we work? What benefits will we expect?

Back in 1930, Keynes predicted we’d all be working as little as 15 hours a week. Has the time come to take such an idea seriously?

[#signalofchange 1] The first robotic, farmerless farm

A vegetable factory that plans to open in Kyoto in 2017 will be the first farm without farmers. The 4,800-square-metre indoor facility will be entirely run by robots. More here.

Image credit: Paul Tomlin / Flickr

[#signalofchange 2] Rolls-royce launches project to design unmanned ships

The Rolls-Royce Blue Ocean team has announced a new collaborative research project looking to produce the designs and operating systems needed to make the concept of unmanned or remote controlled ships a reality. More here.

Image Credit: Rolls-Royce / Flickr

[#signalofchange 3] An ‘unconditional’ basic income for Utrecht’s unemployed

The Dutch city of Utrecht plans to trial an unconditional payment to the unemployed, with no requirement to find work. The move is part of an attempt to simplify complex welfare rules and ascertain the best way to support people without jobs to find employment. More here.

Image Credit: Kamil Porembiński / Flickr

Tell us what you think in the comments box or join the discussion on social media with #signalsofchange.

Header art by Echo Yang.

What might the implications of this be? What related articles have you seen?

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