The challenges of 21st-century work—rapid innovation, unrelenting change and unprecedented uncertainty—have created a stress pandemic. The future of work – your work – may involve robots, even as a manager or leader.Depending on your disposition, you may view the future as ripe for a spectacular explosion of creativity or poised on the brink of self-destruction. Either way, there’s no going back.
The tools and skills we’ve developed over the last century inadequately address imminent challenges. We’re caught between two paradigms: a collapsing industrial platform and an uncertain new one.
“Information Age” insufficiently captures the spirit of where we’re headed. We will be forced to interpret unprecedented information streams and navigate vast knowledge networks to solve new problems.
Too Much Information
The world’s ability to store, communicate and compute information has grown at least 23% annually since 1986. Digital information increases tenfold every 5 years.An Amazon press release noted that Jeff Bezos seeks “to make every book ever printed available in any language in less than 60 seconds.” Google’s mission is to organize all of the world’s information and make it universally accessible.
But we’re not yet ready to deal with these interconnected, nonlinear and amorphous challenges. Our skills remain too basic. We must break free of static, linear thinking and move toward dynamic, holistic information processing.
All this makes me wonder how leaders are going to adapt in the new future of work. We learned in school how to copy, memorize, obey and keep score—skills we now ask machines to handle. Computers can do many jobs.
You may think you’re too smart to be replaced by a machine, but at the rate computers are evolving, that may soon change. How will you stay ahead of the Robot Curve?