12th November, 2020
Open Collaboration

Mind the Gap: The Future of Work in the Machine Economy

Tags: Technology, Disruptive Industries, Society, Smart Business Models

Project Methodology

The world of work is changing. Demand for technological, social, and higher cognitive skills is rising. This begs the question, how will workers and organizations adapt?

Over the next 10 to 15 years, the adoption of disruptive technologies, autonomous machines, and artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the workplace. Core technologies are already shaping the future by innovating new ways to develop clean energy solutions, transport possibilities with fewer emissions, and automated production lines to decrease harmful waste during manufacturing processes.

On the one hand, new technologies bring with them exciting opportunities. Businesses will experience benefits in the form of higher productivity, improved performance, and less downtime, but they will also change the skills required of human workers. Organizational tasks that were once thought to be reserved for humans are increasingly being carried out by machines, and there is a growing concern about the impact on job loss. 

While disruptive changes to business models will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years, there is no clear indication of whether opportunities for the future workforce will diminish. Automation may create more jobs than it displaces. One thing is certain, completely new job types that don’t yet exist will emerge in the near future.

There is a window of opportunity now for individuals, businesses, and the government to investigate these unanswered questions, understand the impact, and proactively manage the transition to a new future. 

The Important Question: How might the future demand for workforce skills adapt to the emergence and increased adoption of new technologies and autonomous machines?

Framing the Challenge

We can only begin to understand the effects of artificial intelligence and automation on the future workforce by investigating the topic itself: workforce disruption. 

This is your opportunity to explore The Future of Work in the Machine Economy. If you are interested in contributing to this study, your submission should include answers to the following:

  • What technologies will shape the future of work?
  • What are the drivers of change?
  • What are the core challenges that exist today?
  • What opportunities exist for the future workforce?
  • What new jobs will emerge?
  • What new skills are required for the future workforce?
  • How will organizations adapt?
  • Will new lines of business emerge?
  • Will geographic differences exist?
  • What strategies can we put in place to ensure cohesive collaboration between humans and machines?
  • How can institutions, governments and policy makers promote a smooth workforce transition?
  • This one’s up to you: Please add any additional thinking or research into what changes could be in store for the workplace, the workforce, and the nature of work itself.

What’s in it for You?

  • Become a published contributor on the NBT Academy 
  • Build up your skills using NBT’s design thinking approach
  • Receive recognition from our Press partners for your contribution
  • Access resources and tools to develop your thinking around a topic
  • Be on the forefront of change and get support to make an impact on societal issues 
  • Connect and collaborate with global technology experts, strategic ecosystem partners and industry innovators 

Who Can Participate?

Are you working on an idea centering around the Machine economy, sustainability, open innovation, or any other focus topics that will lead to a more prosperous and resilient future? We’re looking to connect innovations with key resources to take your concepts to the next level.

  • Academia (students and professors)
  • Researchers
  • Startups 
  • Corporate innovators
  • Technology experts
  • Developers
  • Design thinkers

Submission Guidelines

We plan to create a compelling study on The Future of Work in the Machine Economy and we need your input! Submission guidelines will be updated by 31 October. Until then, these are the tentative guidelines in place:

  • Make sure your submission is in PDF format 
  • Your thinking needs to be supported with facts
  • Sources must be recorded
  • Remember to create your author bio

Create Change with Us

Have questions? Want to submit your ideas?

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