By Aaron Frank
Contributing Writer, Singularity University.
As part of the online web series Which Way Next, hosted by Singularity University, Vivek Wadhwa, VP of Academics and Innovation, sat down with Carl Bass, CEO at Autodesk, to explore some of the pivotal technologies coming online that promise to redefine the jobs available to humans in the 21st Century. Check out the video below:
During the discussion, Bass points out that we are now at a great inflection point in the automation of labor. Extraordinary breakthroughs in the areas of artificial intelligence, robotics and digital manufacturing are all converging upon one another, yielding a world full of technologies plucked right from the world of science fiction.
The damage to the U.S. manufacturing industry caused by outsourcing was solely an issue of cost. What the developed world might consider labor camp conditions is desirable work that countries and individuals compete for overseas. In China, for example, workers line up for jobs consisting of highly repetitive tasks -- 12 hours a day, with few days off. Now the much bigger problem is that even these jobs are disappearing, not because of outsourcing but because of total automation by machine.
According to Bass, the notion that you can easily enjoy a middle class lifestyle with a high school education and a strong work ethic is just not true in today's labor market, and may never be true again. The nature of work available to humans is fundamentally evolving, and doing so overnight.
Carl Bass explains how Americans have weathered paradigm shifts in the past, evolving from a largely agrarian workforce to an urban industrial one. We struggle to envision the jobs of tomorrow, but they could come from fields like renewable energy and synthetic biology. The question no one seems to have the answer to, however, is what is to become of unskilled labor, and those hundreds of millions whose jobs are never coming back.
This material published courtesy of Singularity University.