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This community-wide blog showcases blogs by APF members on topics they select. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this section belong solely to the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of APF.


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Jobbing or Doing?

Posted By Website Admin, Friday, November 17, 2017
Updated: Saturday, March 9, 2019

The following is a member post by Andy Hines which is cross-posted from Hines’ own blog, Hinesight. The views in the article belong to the author and do not necessarily represent the APF or its other members.

A frequently asked question I get as an educator is “can I get a job as a futurist? I tackled this important and relevant question previously. I’d like to suggest a different question, or perhaps a different approach, here. I’ll answer that question here with a question: “well, what do want to do, or accomplish?” Thus, getting a job (jobbing) versus wanting to do or accomplish (doing).

In foresight, if the answer to “doing” is money, I might point one many other fields. In other words, there are probably lots of easier ways to make money than as a futurist. But I actually encounter very little of this. More often, it’s along the lines of, “I like foresight, but I also need to make a living.” It is a quite reasonable expectation, to want to be able to support oneself and/or one’s my family.  My experience, though, is that those who become futurists are to some degree slightly unreasonable people. I mean that in a good way. That is, we are often compelled to follow our vision, even when it’s not the most reasonable thing to do. There are probably easier ways to support oneself and one’s family.

Thus, when a prospective student comes to me with lots of analysis on the potential job market or asks about starting salaries, I’m thinking, “too reasonable.” They probably won’t take the leap, and are likely to be unhappy if they do. That is, they’ll spend a good deal of their educational experience obsessing about their future job – jobbing – instead of search for what they really want to do – doing.

Of course, we get some who are just on fire for foresight and they just have to do it. I would put myself in that camp – I bought at $200 Plymouth Galaxy with no reverse gear, piled in some trash bags full of clothes, and drove south to the Houston program. I know some of you readers are nodding your heads. Probably most of our students are somewhere between this “what are the starting salaries?” (jobbing) and “hair on fire/have to do this” (doing).

“What do you want to accomplish?” is a really, really big question. Probably most prospective students aren’t quite sure what is they want to do — I sure wasn’t — so, we go on the educational quest in large part to find that out!

In our big study for Lumina on the future of student needs, one of our conclusions was that higher education may be doing a disservice to students in being maniacally focused on job market preparation (jobbing). The alignment to the job market makes is again quite reasonable today, perhaps more so in the recent past. Our findings suggest it will be less reasonable in the future. If we believe our findings about the future of student needs, it is more about finding purpose. The real challenge will be to find out what you want to do, and then look for the ways to do it. It will be less and less about “jobs” in the classic full-time sense and more about the work we want to accomplish. Perhaps, as has been said in other contexts, the future will be more aligned to the unreasonable, and thus more friendly to futurists.

But let me encourage you to read more in the next issue of MISC. —  Andy  Hines

Tags:  futurist  job  professionalization 

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The Future of Work, Freshmen Edition

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Updated: Saturday, March 9, 2019

The following is a member post written by Christopher Kent and originally posted by the blog of Foresight Alliance. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of the APF. 

I had the opportunity—and pleasure—to speak to incoming freshmen at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. The topic was the future of work, with a look at how changes happening today will be reshaping work for not only these students, but all workers. I was joined by representatives from Deloitte, KPMG, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

Right off the bat I was impressed, as I don’t believe I would have sought out a seminar called “Tomorrowland” during freshman orientation week. But I was further impressed with both their attention to detail, as well as the well-thought-out ideas they already had vis-à-vis their careers. One person I talked to was interested in finding ways to deliver electricity to under-served communities at affordable prices. Another came to the session with an interest in being a futurist and I succeeded in not dissuading him from this ambition.

It was an interesting day, filled with lively discussion and engaged minds. A+, would do it again.

If you are interested, my presentation is linked below. Click on notes view when it opens to see my comments.

Foresight Alliance–Tomorrowland

Also, you can read the full report, The Futures of Work, or a report overview.

Tags:  future  job  work 

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What construction jobs will look like when robots can build things

Posted By Administration, Thursday, September 4, 2014
Updated: Friday, March 8, 2019

The following is a member post by George Quezada. This blog post is cross-posted from the blog of Data61, an APF organizational member, and was originally published by The Conversation. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily of the APF or its members.

By 2034/35, almost 20% of Australians (6.2 million) are projected to be aged 65 or over. One sector already feeling the impact of the ageing population is construction. In Queensland, the number of construction workers aged 55 and over increased from 8% of full-time workers in 1992 to 14.2% in 2014.

An ageing workforce is likely to increase the need for less physically demanding jobs or maybe technology might address this issue. Task automation and the industry’s innovation culture are two of the greatest areas of uncertainty for the construction industry.

A new study that developed evidence-based scenarios for 2036, depicts how automation and manufacturing could grow in the construction sector, creating more knowledge-intensive jobs as a result.

The study explores future technology that eliminates dangerous and difficult tasks, particularly in light of the ageing workforce.

Experts in the industry were asked the extent to which technology would progress and how many or which tasks could be automated. There was no consensus on this and the other point of contention between the interviewees was how bold the industry would be in its pursuit of new solutions.

The research did suggest the construction workforce will need a broad understanding of digital applications, in addition to traditional project management and communication skills.

Construction jobs of the future

The trends analysis and scenario development in the report produced some examples of possible construction industry jobs in the year 2036, including:

Building assembly technician

Someone who oversees robotic systems and examines data feeds throughout the life of a project. This worker would optimise workflows and make adjustments on real-time feedback from clients about design or changes to materials.

Virtual/augmented reality trainers

Breakthroughs in virtual and augmented reality technology could provide low-cost immersive environments where apprentices and trainers can meet virtually in any training situation, such as worksite, factory, design studio – the possibilities are endless.

Building drone operators

These professionals would control and program drones to carry out complex tasks such as site inspections, deliveries, and maintenance.

Robot resource manager

Robots in the workplace will need someone to take care of commissioning, software programming, maintenance and re-purposing or recycling of robotic parts. Keeping track of this exploding field of technology will be a key challenge for the role.

Other opportunities

The Australian construction industry is changing with the introduction of digital collaboration platforms, like Building Information Modelling (BIM), robot machine prototypes such as the Fastbrick robot and rapid progress in 3D printing capabilities. These innovations will need more people skilled in the use of software programs and fewer people for labour-intensive jobs such as bricklaying or paving.

BIM is software that creates a 3D visualisation of a building. However, it extends beyond 3D imaging to show scheduling, cost control, facility management and energy performance monitoring. The UK government has mandated that all centrally funded work is to be undertaken using BIM by April 2016 and the Queensland government has stated that it will progressively implement the use of BIM into all major state infrastructure projects by 2023. As workers’ skills in BIM increase in Australia, the improved cost and time saving will drive customers to demand that projects are managed in this way.

Already, in the Netherlands, the company MX3D is using 6-axis industrial robots to print a fully functional steel bridge. Contour Crafting technology, a process invented at the University of Southern California, has great potential for automating the construction of whole structures as well as sub-components and a company in China is using 3D printing to build houses.

The manufacturing part of the construction industry is expected to grow at 5% per annum out to 2023, compared to a growth rate of 2.3% for the industry as a whole. While the current prefabricated building market in Australia is still comparatively small, with only A$4.5 billion of the total A$150 billion construction industry, it is expected to contribute to more affordable housing stock and to take a much greater share of creating multi-storey buildings.

The nature of construction work is set for a step change over the next 20 years and careful strategic thinking is needed to navigate the changes.

The changes will require humans to exercise judgement and decision-making that reflects human values and aspirations; a task that is well beyond the most advanced artificial intelligence systems.

George Quezada, Research Scientist, Data61, CSIRO

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Tags:  construction  job  work 

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