Society of the future
Instead of worrying about robots taking our jobs, we should be identifying which jobs machines will not be capable of doing in the foreseeable future. In other words, what skills will be key to finding employment? Imagination and creativity seem to be the answer.
We have become accustomed to robots performing repetitive tasks such as car assembly, harvesting, and packing. Not only do they not get tired or bored, they are also more precise as well as faster at gathering and processing large amounts of data ‒ enabling them to outperform humans at tasks such as medical diagnosis using image processing. This breakthrough opens up new opportunities for giving robots not only the jobs of unskilled staff but also those jobs that previously required years of study at medical school, for example.
Redeployment of jobs
Though the dynamism of the industrial robots market leads some to assume this will trigger mass unemployment, history suggests the opposite. Industrialization actually created new jobs and income streams. This benefited all sections of society, albeit not always to the same extent.
What changes will automation bring to the jobs market in the upcoming decades? Fewer humans will be needed in agriculture, repetitive unskilled and office work, and equipment and machinery operation. Our Technology Supertrend points to non-industrial areas of automation growth such as retail, transport, and smart home solutions, to name but a few. However, prospects look attractive for IT specialists, technicians, and certain academic professions, particularly where a combination of technical know-how and social or organizational skills is required.
What other skills will be key to finding employment? How should we educate our children to make sure their skills are in demand in the jobs market? This changing world requires creativity and adaptability, rather than the ability to follow set rules and instructions. While the latter is in the safe hands of robots, we should embrace imagination in our education systems.
Society 5.0 or the Imagination Society
The trend is going mainstream. Keidanren, the Japan Business Federation, has examined the potential outcomes of the digital transformation. It believes a proactive approach to creating the world of tomorrow is the way to go. Imagination and creativity are crucial in order for this to be achieved – so crucial that Keidanren named the generation to come the Imagination Society. What is more, the Japanese government is supporting the idea of creative society living in digital world. They hope the imagination society will contribute to creative innovations like more efficient transportation systems or better mobile health solutions. These innovations should liberate people from previous restrictions and allow them to pursue their own individual lifestyles.
Time will tell whether this utopian vision comes true, but the technology is already helping us to save time – provided we are willing to spend it on inventing creative solutions that can help shape a new, emancipated society. As Keidanren states, "We must consider what kind of society we wish to create, rather than trying to foresee the kind of society it will be."