World in 2045

Just back from two days thinking about the world in 2045 with the Ministry of Defence. Some really bright people and some really good thinking, although there was more than enough to keep me wide awake for the next few nights.

I’ll dribble in some highlights and sound-bites over the next few days (unclassified), but one thing that sticks in my mind is the comment from Phillip Blond , a director at the think tank Respublica who was talking about the impacts of automation.

“What happened to the working class during the 1970s and 1980s (in the UK) is going to happen to the middle class next (between now and 2045).” If it’s not obvious what this comment means, it’s about whole industries and regions and mass unemployment.

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5 Responses to World in 2045

  1. JezArnold says:

    “What happened to the working class during the 1970s and 1980s (in the UK) is going to happen to the middle class next (between now and 2045).” If it’s not obvious what this comment means, it’s about whole industries and regions and mass unemployment.

    Are you going to expand on this in future posts??? What jobs are going to be safe??? What skills do I need to start picking up???

  2. Richard says:

    First off it’s obviously just an opinion. It’s by no means certain. The general trend would appear to be that smart machines and smart software will start (is starting!)to impact jobs that involve the acquisition and application of rules or fixed knowledge. Data entry and data analysis would be under threat, for instance. But this could apply to lawyers, teachers, doctors and so on up to a point. The key thing, it seems to me, is to have a job that a machine or smart system cannot do well and such jobs tend to involve creativity or human empathy in some way. Machines cannot yet write movie scripts (although you can outsource to a cheaper region) and machines aren’t good at dealing with people in customer service roles. Hence teachers, lawyers and doctors are actually safe. More to come…

  3. James says:

    Are you working on the strategic trends 2045? Where you mention about the middle & working classes. What are the consequencies e.g. unrest/revolution etc?

    Thanks

    James

  4. richard says:

    Yes, I was part of a 2-day workshop looking at drivers that will create the world in 2045. I’m posting some more thoughts today and will continue to do so…

  5. richard says:

    Sorry, I didn’t really answer the question! One would think that finite resources set against rapidly rising populations (more specifically rising incomes and shifting consumption habits, especially in emerging markets) would cause trouble. Unmet expectations + connectivity and all that. I’d suggest that the way to spot unrest/revolutions would be to look at nations/regions with a large number of young men in the population (<25), add high level of education, high unemployment, high corruption, good access to social media/internet and that could add up to trouble.
    What do you think causes unrest/revolution?

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