How old will your child be in 2030 and what job will they do? – by Peter Kawalek

How old will your child be in 2030?

How old will your child be in 2030?

How old will you be?

According to the famous consultancy McKinsey, by 2030, “between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs.” This is a global transformation on a par with the years when people left agriculture for manufacturing. It is a new age. The cause is the technological transformation of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, sustainable energy and extensions of the Internet.

I talked about this with the author Paul Hornsey-Pennell. We spoke over Skype video between his house beside the Mediterranean in Spain, and my office which was then under a very grey Leicestershire sky. Paul’s book is called “Surfing The Techno-Tsunami: Catch The Wave, Transform Your Life“.

Paul explained his motivation for writing, “We are in the dark, people are in the dark.” Political leaders are “looking at the old model.” The old industries like oil and the car industry still dominate people’s thinking, but they are old. Business seeks profits, he reminded me, and “you cannot get more profitable than a robot.”

A robot never sleeps. Never complains. It learns to do new things. It is adaptable and intelligent.

It was a speech by Mark Carney that provided the final spring for Paul to write. Carney is Governor of the Bank of England and has no reason to hype the facts. Yet, speaking in Liverpool in December 2016, he reminded the audience that a very fundamental change is on the way. Even if new jobs replace the old jobs, argued Carney, the gap between the old job leaving and the new job arriving will be very significant. It will take years, many years, for old jobs to be replaced by new ones.

The world is in for a turbulent time. People will be out of work and many will lose identity.

Yet there is also an opportunity in all this. Each of us needs to grasp what is happening and to prepare with new skills. Then, for society as a whole, there is a chance to reinvent work to make it more social, more family-friendly, and more interesting. “After all,” says Paul, “today most people are bored and unfulfilled.”

He tells me that the education system is out-dated and good only to prepare people for a world that is passing and which many people do not much like anyway. For evidence, he tells me of a MORI poll in which it was revealed that 67% of respondents felt disengaged at work and 24% actively hated their jobs.

That is frightening to think about. What a waste.

So, as challenging as the future is, Paul says, “What I think is really exciting is that business is entering into a new way of doing things … a social way.”

So, there is a lot of hope too. And a great deal to get done in the next twelve years. It is daunting to think about how things will change, but if people begin to open their eyes they can take a little more control of their lives.

I enjoyed talking to Paul. In recent months as well as UK, I have been in Hong Kong, Dubai and Ireland. In all of these places, I saw many signs of the changes coming to us all. Every day I hear more news of more changes underway. So, I also recommend that you take a look at books by the academics Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. Start with ‘Race Against the Machine’ and then later on try ‘Machine Platform Crowd.’ The world is changing alright. How old did you say that your child will be in 2030?

Peter Kawalek

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