2020: What will you be doing?

First of all, we have to assume we make it past 2012 and the coming apocalypse. So if we do, then where will you be in 10 years? What will you be doing? How will your profession change over the next decade?

We have a tendency to allow life to just “flow” – days become weeks, that become months, that turn into years – and well, our days just flow and all of a sudden, 10 years has passed. Think about April 2000 – what were you doing? How much has happened to you during those years? Are you different in any major way – or has been subtle changes [more like the frog that thought he was taking a bath in warm water until it started boiling]. Well, in April 2020 we’ll either be here or we won’t – and if we’re here, then you can beat some things will have advanced very quickly [while others not so much].

In a recent Forbes article – they looked various aspects of life and a potential view of what life will be like in 10 years. One of the areas is “work” and how it will change. The author, Martin Ford [author of “The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future”] states that the single greatest challenge facing us right now and through the next 10 year span is the creation of jobs. His basic assumption is that computerization and information technology are continuing to make “job automation” their number one goal – and what has happened to manufacturing will happen to “knowledge workers”.

“The six-figure knowledge worker who no inhabit oceans of corporate cubicles will be heavily threatened by software automation and specialized artificial intelligence applications that can perform many of the routine tasks and analyses that occupy their days” he predicts. “The economy of 2020 may well be characterized by substantial, broad-based and ever increasing structural unemployment, as well as by stagnant or plunging consumer spending and confidence.”

WOW – what a bleak future for us. But guess what, what he predicts will happen over the next 10 years, is happening right now. Many “knowledge” industries are being moved to the internet [or network enabled devices like the iPhone] – what has happened to the Travel industry? How about the legal industry – you can go out there to a web site and get all the documents you want to incorporate yourself. Or how about Tax Preparation [since tomorrow is April 15th] how about that – or banking, or almost all our knowledge and service industries?

And don’t forget the work of High Tech – the industry I work in – we will with peaks and valleys, booms and busts, outsourcing, insourcing, offshoring, etc and so on. The future he describes is happening now and will continue to happen – over time, there will be technology to replace Actors in feature films and singers performing music. The doctor that is diagnosing your current medical condition may be in a Russian Call Center along with 200 of his best medical friends. Get ready for it – it will happen and it will be both worse and better than we can imagine.

The only constant is change – and most of us don’t like change – but it happens anyway. The link to the story is below – read it and start thinking about how you can be active in creating your future self. Enjoy!!

Your Job in 2020by Martin FordForbes – April 8, 2010


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