As a father and geek, I've been spending a fair bit of time lately thinking about the future of work. CGP Grey produced an excellent video that captures a lot of concerns about the impacts of automation, machine learning, AI on the future of work.
The future of work isn't physical labour.
It isn't driving trucks, taxis, delivering packages.
It isn't picking stocks, helping people plan their vacations, constructing buildings, flipping burgers.
Whole swathes of industry will be transformed by automation, machine learning, robotics. Some will be faster, some will be slower.
I've learned through my career that it is WAY more fun to be working in a dynamic, growing industry than a flat or shrinking industry. Sure, it requires ongoing retraining and learning and development and things never staying the same from one day to the next, but the rewards are commensurate.
Given that we already have machines choosing investments, driving, writing music and painting pictures, that sales is going to online and self-serve, many of the jobs I had imagined might still be around after the revolution - the creative, or those that deal with people - are actually impacted as well, the final area of job growth is likely, in my mind, in the area of entrepreneurship.
I'm not certain how long these will last, but it seems to me that entrepreneurship is ultimately an act of creativity. It requires hard and soft skills, combination of knowledge across disciplines, and the ability to determine "what next" not from a list of options but as guided by your own internal muse.
Inside corporations, the traditional jobs seem to be racing to the top or bottom - and there aren't many jobs on top, and you don't want to be on the bottom.
And it is possible, by choosing the right industry, you might find a career path or job that will last another five or ten or twenty years - and for some of us, that might be long enough. But for our kids, and their kids, the future of work will require new skills and new initiative, and we need to be preparing them for that.