At OEB 2015, questions regarding shifts in technological change were prevalent, and one key area of focus was how this change will affect the world of work; an essential issue for educators and trainers who are charged with preparing the next generations in a dynamic world.
Friday morning saw Nik Gowing, former BBC news anchor, engage three authorities on this topic in an interactive panel discussion – Cornelia Daheim, founder and director of Future Impacts Consulting; John Higgins, Director General of DIGITALEUROPE, the association for the digital technology industry in Europe; and Yannis Angelis, Fresenius Kabi, Germany.
What will work look like in the coming decades? One message that was emphasised was that no-one can be sure, but the consensus that was reached was that AI, robotics, 3D printing, and digitalisation will have wide ranging impact. Much of the discussion was taken up by the notion of automation – how will this change not only the lives of employees but employers too? Whilst the all-out end of work itself remains in the realm of utopia, none of the speakers, nor anyone in the audience for that matter, seemed to doubt irrevocable change was on its way.
‘One of the key new developments will be the occurrence of four-generation working teams, as people grow older and work for longer.’
‘We need to learn how to work in unstructured environments – we work in casual teams more and more. The ability to organise ourselves is key. Many people want to work from home for example, but find that this is a huge challenge when they get the opportunity to do so.’
‘Many people want to change the world, but the world does not always want to be changed. Look at the reactions to Uber.’
‘Legislation is a blunt tool – I’m not saying it should never be used, but be very careful where you ask for it.’
‘A big shift that needs to happen is one that goes from current hierarchical structures to more networked systems where we can be in charge of our own lives,and technology will be key in this.’
‘We want to be both competent and skilled. All of us need to be change makers, in terms of how we influence humanity. Change is not a skill but an attitude.’