How to Approach the Question of Job Availability in the Collaborative Age

Will there be more or less jobs in the Collaborative Age? This is a decisive political question at the core of many discussions and votes.

Robot waiters in action
Robot waiters in action

One one hand, there is an impression that robots will take over jobs, in particular those that are do not require high qualifications.  For example, truck drivers represent up to 2.5% of the total workforce in the US and could be soon replaced by robots (to which other types of drivers like taxi etc need to be added, bringing possibly the total to 3.0 or 3.5%). This is a huge, huge number and the shift may happen soon. How will those people redeploy their talent?

Others like Tim O’Reilly in this video titled ‘why we’ll never run out of jobs’ take the stand that the Collaborative Age will provide new opportunities and that work will not be a problem: according to him we’ll never run out of jobs, because:

  • we will never run out of problems
  • there will always be the need for new, attractive products
  • of innovation

That may be true once the transition has been performed.

One thing for sure, jobs in the Collaborative Age will be different than today’s. The skills and talents they will require will be different too.

The conversion of the current generation to the new situation may be painful and this may help explain the tidal waves of conservative fear of change that express themselves at each election.