The Future of Work vs. the Future of Jobs

a baby interacting with Pepper the robot, taken from
A baby interacting with Pepper the robot, taken from (CC BY 2.0)

When I speak with executives, every group eventually tends to ask the same questions about the future of work. Meanwhile, every individual I speak with about the future of work is actually more concerned with the future of jobs.

The future of work has to do with the way companies will achieve productivity in an increasingly automated ecosystem. The future of jobs, meanwhile, has to do with the way human beings will make their living.

The Future of Work

There are going to need to be emerging skills in the workplace for managing combined teams of humans and machines.

The Future of Jobs

It no longer sounds alarmist to say that at least some parts of our jobs are probably going to be replaced by automation and/or by cognitive computing. But as machines augment human jobs, we will also create new and sometimes more interesting human jobs.

Human Experiences Beyond the Workplace

What matters in all of this is that humans have the opportunity for meaningful experiences in the future, whether they derive from work or not.

What Is The Answer? Is It UBI?

Universal Basic Income stands to deepen the inequality between those who control the wealth and the distribution of it, and those who merely receive their allotment.

The Responsibility of Companies

The only way to create a human-centric tech-driven future is for business to operate from a place of as much alignment as possible between corporate objectives and human interests.

  • Make values clear
  • Make it easy for people to get up to speed quickly and add value in ad hoc ways
  • Build a culture of teamwork and collaboration
  • Cultivate leadership and judgment skills up and down and across the organization
  • Embrace change, embrace diversity, embrace the future

The Responsibility of Tech Providers and Platforms

The Responsibility of Government

The Responsibility of People

  • Demonstrate good judgment, nuance, pattern recognition, cooperation, delegation, organization, project management
  • Develop digital literacy, media literacy, general savvy and sophistication around algorithmic systems
  • Develop general technology familiarity
  • Embrace learning and change, embrace fluidity in your work, embrace the future
  • programming fundamentals: object orientation, inheritance, APIs, etc
  • AI fundamentals: familiarity with basic machine learning models
  • robotic fundamentals: electronics, electrical engineering

We’re All in This Together




Speaker, author, expert on better tech for business & people, & transformation—digital & otherwise. @kateo.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Thinking about Code Of Conducts …

Uvesh Bakali- The Bug Hunter

Power Women: Rebecca Rogers On How To Successfully Navigate Work, Love and Life As A Powerful Woman

Finding Vacancies And Opportunities

Pulling Together


What Is My Dream Job?

An Alternative Return to Work

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Kate O'Neill

Kate O'Neill

Speaker, author, expert on better tech for business & people, & transformation—digital & otherwise. @kateo.

More from Medium

One day, a XYZ Pizzeria specialist comes and requests us to get counseling about their “Voice of…

Japanese inventor creates a lickable screen that will let you taste things in the metaverse

Turning Mistakes Into Opportunities : Five Strategies Approach

How to think like a futurist