My elegant title suggests a simple strategy of looking at the unfolding pathway of automation and don’t follow a dead-end for humans (aka the meat). It starts with the familiar question futurists get, often from parents: “what are the future jobs for my kids.” My response to this question in a recent compilation was “be hard to automate.” Put another way, being a rule follower, procedure disciplinarian, master of the bureaucracy puts you in danger of being a meatbot, as does making the safe choice or playing the existing game. Put simply, the machines will win many of the games ahead, so we have to be clever enough to know which games to play!
The emerging irony is that for years the smart play in terms of preparing for the future was indeed to take jobs that are now next on automation chopping block. For instance, accounting is so integral to what we do, we’ll always need them, and lots of them, and it has been a pretty safe route to a good career. My prospective futurist students and grads have always and continue to face challenging job prospects because they are unique and different. Are the tables turning, where unique and different is actually the smarter play?
Number one on our list of nine emerging Student Needs for 2025 and beyond was “reskilling: students need to know what skills they will need and how to master them.” The ability to continue to adapt as automation (and other forces) shift the job market is crucial. Of course, regular readers know that we’re skeptical of “jobs” as the means of wealth distribution in the future.
Having a base skill set of creative, critical, systems, and futures thinking is a good foundation to avoid being a meatbot. When you combine that with an ability to re-skill, I think you’re in as good a shape as you can be, as long as we need jobs to earn a piece of the pie….and avoid being a meatbot. Andy Hines