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Your Job and How Technology Will Change It

Richard Lieberman

Not just that technology is changing work, but resourceful workers are changing it as well.

As the Ind Revolution was getting started, people used to the Agricultural society had zero understanding of the changes about to be unleashed. In the same way, workers and their bosses today have no concept of how their world is about to be turned upside down. Nobody made a conscious decision to radically change everything 200 years ago - it was just a series of remorseless improvements. The new technologies were so much better that everyone was forced to change. The same thing is happening today - most cannot see the imminent destruction of existing work models, which themselves are only 200 years old.

Increased use of data to evaluate work performance. Most obvious with baseball as described in Moneyballwhere stats replaced subjective appraisal by scouts.

Easier-to-organize and more efficient virtual meetings. Everybody in own office or home, with individual projection screens working off smartphones. When you look at someone, all the stuff you need to know - their name, areas of expertise etc - projected above them. And instant translate, so any nationality can take part. Massive increase in shared wisdom and problem solving.

And this will become an ongoing meeting - the whole project becomes a continual process as documents and video meets are appended to the file. The key is that all participants can see all the parts - multi-level participation blurs the lines of seniority and authority - becomes obvious who is doing the work, and who is contributing value.

Interestingly, this will favour traditional female attributes of communication skills of listening, empathy, flexibility and negotiation. Attributes which have traditionally weighed against women - physical height and presence, deep voice, assertive personalities - are less valued in this collaborative process.

Digital natives self-police because they grow up accustomed to the idea that everything they write is permanent. Older people, used to transient verbal communication, find it much harder to remember that their online comm never goes away.

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