The Future of Work; Will it be Technology or Social Obligation?

The future belongs to those who are ready, goes the popular say. There is no further information on what this readiness means absolutely and so, everybody else is bracing themselves ready for that future in the best way possible.

However, a lot of people agree that the readiness being referred to in this case has more to do with technology given the context in today’s world. I seem to agree with this fact. The only question that remains to be explored has to do with the pact that is banking their readiness on social obligation as a fundamental requirement for organizations.

Let us look at a certain analogy here. Last week, I attended a meeting at the Radisson Blue hotel and residence at Arboretum. As I entered the conference room, the motion-sensing door opened for me. This is one of the many instances I have encountered such sensing technologies at work.

The reason I used this example is that in that conference hall, we explored what readiness for the future work market looks like. As I sat there, my mind shifted to the door that just ushered me in. A few years ago, a person was expected to be standing at that same door to do the opening for visitors coming into the hotel.

That person, however, has been replaced by a self-opening door. Perhaps, the other work of the person who would be standing by the door back in the day was to count the number of people who entered the room to provide the number of guests to be catered for by the kitchen staff.

Fast forward, thanks to IoT (Internet of Things), the same door could be equipped with a device that uniquely identifies every individual who enters as a way of security measure and also a way of identifying the number of people in the room at any single time.

The future of work is so dynamic today than ever.

This short illustration can be pasted with a lot of jobs today. No wonder we are at the tipping point for self-driven cars, right in the very middle with robotic-driven industries and factories to sophisticated security systems that only need the individual who services and occasionally operates them.

Speaking of this and we are left to ask ourselves what happens to the security people, and the drivers in these cases? One school of thought encourages that these workers should begin to prepare themselves with skills that will be needed to complement technology which is a great one yet another school of thought takes into effect the fact that social obligation will require that organizations employ people to this type of works by all means because it is expected of them.

It then remains in the person’s hand to decide on which thought to side with. The ones positioning themselves for this future of work look for every way possible to be techno competent so that when the reality dawns, they don’t become irrelevant.

The other lot that is doing nothing continues to work hard to gain more physical strength to compete with the technology when it finally catches up with them on the assumption that the job market at some point will be forced to bend in honoring their social and moral obligations.

Then there is the class that explores both paths in tandem. The people who decide to gain as many skills as possible from multiple undertakings to ensure that they are relevant whatever the situation comes up. These are the people who dare the future to catch up with them.

In a nutshell, everybody has the right to choose the kind of future they would want. Those that will want multiple work pathways, prepare themselves to be technology ready. The other group that decides to pursue the linear pathway, they are entitled to their choice as well. After all, the SDGs call for decent work for all people.

But we better remember that this is a kind of war. With experience, technology seems to win big time. Maybe, this is the one time we are called to fight the war from both sides. Either way, you win.

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege

Geoffrey Ndege is the Editor and topical contributor for the Daily Focus Kenya. He writes in the areas of Science, Politics, Technology, Current Affairs, Opinion, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Entrepreneurship, Governance, International Emerging Issues, Society, and culture. For featuring and promotions reach out on 0714-505-312 or write to us at ndegegeoffrey@gmail.com. To support - Mpesa no. is 0714505312.

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