What future skills now?

A couple of personal take aways that I draw from a project run for a human resources department. These are my personal take, and deliberately leave out many (much more specific) client learnings.

  • The need for specific technical expertise is not going away – in some cases it may be vital e.g. to check that what AI is producing, or robots are doing, is not the result of a hallucination.
  • This said, in a world where uncertainty and technology abound, soft skills are becoming ever more vital. We are all going to have to change how we work, even what we work on. Being open to that change, to working together with others to find new ways of doing things, and prepared to learn new things rapidly is more important than being a detailed expert.
  • To attract the manual workers and skilled artisans we need, something fundamental must change in the current way of thinking and hiring. And the opportunity is there, as in the future we will require technological-savvy artisans with good common sense – who could come from either a practical or an academic background. These will increasingly be “no-collar” jobs, requiring both thought and practical knowledge.

One more thought. For futurists, it is striking that with AI at work, more and more we will be faced not with how to generate the alternative futures possible, and more and more how to ensure that the collective intelligence of our client grasps what could happen and aligns around the heuristics that emerge. The pilots in this project were interesting also in this respect, given their focus on having people work through “a day in the life of xxx” in each alternative future.