The Future of Work is Uncertain

Much of the narrative around the ‘future of work’ is naive. It speaks of systems that we understand, modes of power that are established, and the promises of feature rich technology.

Many narratives we hear in the media, oft repeated, are either protecting property, power and pride of a world gone by, or idealistically embracing the promises of utopian technology and dreams.

Not that there is anything wrong with dreams, but glassy eyed realism tells us to follow the money, and look for who is exploiting whom.

The future of work is most likely to be messy and divergent, with some Organisations paying the price of early investment, and yet more paying the price of inertia.

A price paid in gradual sub optimisation, fragmenting value chains, disruption from asymmetric competition, and loss of talent.

Whatever the ‘future’ is, it is unlikely to be held within frameworks of organisation that we already fully utilise or even understand: our legacy structures are ones of physical resource, face to face collaboration, data held in spaces, and distribution through physical networks. In many industries, non of this is still the foundation.

I suspect that the emergent competitors will be operating not with adaptations of the legacy model, but within new frameworks entirely, which will typically be lighter weight, more permeable to talent and expertise, and trade in both monetary and social currencies. In all likelihood this means that not only with they conflict with legacy ones, they won’t even share a language of purpose and effectiveness.

There is nothing wrong with uncertainty, provided we do not mistake it for weakness, or stamp ti out with delusion.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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