Labor Day Meets The Future
September 1, 2017
As we arrive upon Labor Day 2017, I don’t think it would be too much hyperbole to say that in no time in our history of civilization has the definition of “labor” been at so great a threat of re-imagination.
From corporate culture to work/life balance to diversity and inclusion to the gig economy to universal basic income, “the future of work” is a very hot topic of discussion these days. And with new technologies and social standards, the methods of determining how we work, who we work with, and where we might work are actively changing. Furthermore, these days when I think about how new technology consistently forces us to re-evaluate previously long-held beliefs about work, I try to consider both the benefits and challenges that are created.
For example, Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications are both creating new types of employment and threatening labor traditions at breathtaking speed. I pretty much tell everyone I know how much a time and cost saving using a AI personal assistant bot service like x.ai is for scheduling meetings. But what we also must consider, especially in the workplace and in our future human to computer interactions, is whether we’re implanting implicit gender or race/ethnicity biases into these new artificial interfaces replacing actual humans.
Workforce automation and process optimization has been around for quite some time and have focused mostly on administrative tasks. But recent innovations are now even challenging strategic and creative roles. Will even pop stars be replaced by robots? It seems trite to speak so cavalierly about jobs being replaced by robots, but I wonder who, other than Mark Zuckerberg, will start to give more than lip service to the Universal Basic Income (UBI)? How will we prepare for the transition of robots taking over more and more roles and having significantly less inventory of available jobs?
Finally, when thinking about the human side of the “future of work,” three relatively new nonprofit organizations come to mind, that I’d love for more people to know:
Career Village democratizes access to the career advice and information underserved youth need to find career goals and create plans to achieve those goals. Students ask questions on the Career Village website and receive personalized answers from volunteers sharing real experiences and perspectives.
Service Corps empowers emerging leaders to secure and defer their post-college job offers at leading corporations, and to serve for one year at the finest nonprofit and public organizations.
Samasource trains and employs low-income women and youth in dignified, digital work in Kenya, Uganda, India and the US. They then source data projects from some of the world's largest companies to help unlock opportunity for their labor force.
If there’s anything these three great organizations are proving is that technology like artificial intelligence or social media need not serve to divide us or threaten our humanity, but rather it can be used to help bridge people and communities more closely towards together creating new opportunities.
Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend! While you’re enjoying these last few days of summer, I encourage you to take a moment to remember how we all arrived to where we are today with respect to working and consider your own visions and ideas for where we’re headed in our future. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Jason Rosado is CEO and Co-Founder of Givkwik - a purpose-driven software and services company that provides turn-key technology solutions for cause marketing and employment engagement programs. Please visit https://givkwik.com to learn more.
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