What will work look like in the future?

“Everyone has a stake in the changing nature of work, yet many are confused about what is changing, why and how these changes take place, and whether anything can be done to shape the future.”

That’s according to digital economy specialist Sanna Ojanperä, our guest speaker at the first 'Careers in a Technology Fuelled Future' event held at #hellodigital in November 2018.

Sanna, a researcher and doctoral student at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford and at The Alan Turing Institute discussed how the future of work will soon become the present, going some way to clear up the confusion about what is changing.

For Sanna, although AI is a buzzword for the media at the moment, it is just one of the new forms of technology which is set to change the way we all work in future.

Technology such as driverless vehicles, robotics, nano-technology, 3D printing and blockchain technology will also create new ways of working and will provide both opportunities and challenges across the UK. Trying to predict whether the effect on jobs these growths in technology will have can be challenging, as every country, industry and even local region may take different choices and approaches as we progress.

One of the biggest challenges we face in this evolving workplace is rising inequality due to some people and places gaining more opportunities ahead of others, a loss of jobs in certain industries due to automation and the task of keeping work up-to-date with the ever-changing nature of the technology. 

Sanna sees that opportunities include new jobs, both from newly created roles and in traditional industries adopting the tech, a more global access for previously regional markets, improved workplace technology, and new governance and regulation models which can be devised to address the changing nature of work.

Jobs more likely facing automation are those involving repetitive and routine tasks, such as manufacturing and administration roles, as these can be easy for AI and technology to undertake. In some cases, industries may consider this as a more cost effective and productive approach to business.

Millennials and Gen-Z also face less certainty in the future job market due to the acceleration of technological advancements, which education can sometimes struggle to keep on top of. Jobs which are highly technical and have a more personal, human touch, such as those in healthcare and education, are less likely to be automated.

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And as we head towards this future, the challenges and opportunities will converge, which will open more opportunities for us to collaborate, learn and grow.

If you missed Sanna’s fascinating talk, it’s available to watch online here.

 You can read more about her thoughts on the future of work in a blog that Sanna has written for the Turing Institute here.

The second part of the 'Careers in a Technology Fuelled Future' will take place on December 12, 2018 entitled ‘Can technology level the playing field for disability in the workplace?’ with Liberty Bligh from DWP as guest speaker. This event will explore how technology is currently, and will increasingly, remove the barriers of disability inequality in the workplace. Find out about this and furture events at www.hellodigital.scot/events/