The future of work is changing. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the workplace, and this is likely to continue in the years ahead. One trend that is already evident is the increasing use of robotics and automation in manufacturing and other sectors. This is likely to lead to a decline in the number of jobs available in these areas.
At the same time, there are new opportunities emerging in fields such as information technology and healthcare. These are areas where technology can be used to improve efficiency and productivity. The challenge for workers is to keep up with the changes and adapt to the new realities of the workplace. Those who are able to do so will be well placed for the future.
Every society develops an idealized image of the future – a vision that serves as a lighthouse to lead people’s thoughts and energy. The ancient Jewish nation yearned for deliverance to a land of milk and honey. Christian preachers later offered the hope of eternal salvation in the heavenly kingdom. Industrial society’s idea of a utopian technological paradise has served as the focal point for modernity.
The technological utopia is a society in which technology has solved all the problems that confront humanity. It is a society in which everyone has enough to eat, there is no sickness or poverty, and people live in peace and harmony.
This image of the future has been constantly reshaped by advances in science and technology. In the 18th century, for example, it was thought that the coming age would be one of mechanical devices that could do the work of human beings. The advent of electricity and the combustion engine were seen as bringing this age ever closer.
In the 20th century, new technologies like radio, television, and computers led to new visions of the future. In some cases, these visions were dystopian – like the world of George Orwell’s 1984, in which all human beings are controlled by an all-seeing government. In other cases, they were utopian – like the world of Star Trek, in which people travel through space and use advanced technologies to solve all the world’s problems.
The 21st century has seen the rise of new technologies like digital media, genetic engineering, and artificial intelligence. Each of these technologies has given rise to its own vision of the future. The digital age has led to a renewed interest in cyberpunk fiction, in which people live in a world where technology has outpaced humanity’s ability to control it.
The age of genetic engineering has led to a renewed interest in post-humanism, in which people merge their bodies with machines to create a new kind of being. And the age of artificial intelligence has led to a renewed interest in artificial general intelligence, in which machines become smarter than humans and take over many of the tasks currently done by human beings.
Each of these visions of the future offers its own version of the technological utopia. In cyberpunk fiction, for example, people live in a world where they are free from the tyranny of government and corporations. In post-humanism, people merge their bodies with machines to achieve a state of perfect equality and freedom. And in artificial general intelligence, machines take over many of the tasks currently done by human beings, leading to a world where everyone can have access to the benefits of advanced technology.
For more than a century, dreamers and men and women of science and letters have sought for a future society where technology would eliminate human labor, resulting in a near-workerless society of abundance and leisure.
This paper will analyze technological advancements, robotics, electronic miniaturization, digitization, and information technology with regard to their social ramifications for human values as well as the future of work. It will be argued that we are entering postmodernity or post-Fordism, a new age technological revolution that has significant consequences for social structure and values.
Work is no longer a central defining feature of our lives. In the early days of the industrial revolution, work was central to human existence. It was dirty, dangerous and required strength. Work was in the factories, in the coal mines, and on the land. Over time, with advances in technology and changes in social organization work has moved out of these traditional sectors into new areas such as services, knowledge work and high tech industries.
The nature of work has changed. It is now more desk-bound, cognitive and skilled. Work is now also more fragmented and temporary. (Giddens 1990) In post modernity or post-Fordism there are multiple job changes during a lifespan and a trend towards self-employment. (Giddens 1990)
These changes in the nature of work and the way we live our lives have been brought about by advances in technology. Technology is not neutral. It has a history, a social context and is shaped by the values of those who create it. Technology reflects the priorities of those in power. (J Rifkin 1995)
In the early days of industrialization, the priority was to increase production, to maximize profits for the factory owners. Technology was used to replace human labor with machines. Work became more dangerous and dirty as machines took over tasks that had been done by people. The priority was profit not human welfare.
The following will be discussed: the end of paid employment, longevity, early retirement, the termination of cash, education reform, industry and a movement to global politics and economics. This article will claim that the Christian Judao work ethic is no longer appropriate for society’s objectives of full employment in the traditional sense; that this notion needs to be more open; and that the definition of job must be considerably broader.
Technology has always impacted work. The industrial revolution led to the factory system and the displacement of many agricultural jobs. Technology has also created new opportunities for work, such as in the IT field. With the advent of robotics and artificial intelligence, many experts are predicting that a large percentage of jobs currently done by humans will soon be done by robots.
This raises the question: what will people do when they no longer have to work to earn a living? Some people argue that we will see an increase in leisure time, while others believe that we will need to find new ways to spend our time. Whatever happens, it is clear that technology is going to continue to play a major role in shaping the future of work.