The future of work: is your job safe? | The Economist

The future of work: is your job safe? | The Economist

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– [Narrator] This is the
workforce of the future. Technology is transforming
the world of work beyond all recognition, creating
groundbreaking opportunities. – It’s an amazing thing to be
living in this digital age. – But it’s also eroding
the rights of workers. – It creates a kind of dog eat dog world. – [Narrator] Some even fear
a dystopian jobless future. – Technology today could lead to 45% of current jobs disappearing. – [Narrator] But are
these anxieties overblown? – The future is about the collaboration between humans and these technologies. – [Narrator] How we react
to this brave new world of work today will shape
societies for generations to come. For some people work
is where the Wi-Fi is. In the past two years, Samantha and Justin have lived and worked in
more than 20 countries. – We started this year in South America. We lived in Peru, in Santiago,
Chile, Bariloche, Argentina. – [Samantha] Croatia, Innsbruck, Austria,
– Austria. – [Samantha] Portugal, Italy, Norway. – [Justin] Which was really pretty. – [Samantha] And then we
were on Reunion Island for two months. – [Justin] Off of Madagascar. – Yes and when we were
there everyone was, like, “How in the world did
you find this place?” – “How did you find this place?” – [Narrator] Nut throughout their travels, Justin and Samantha have
each been holding down a job. He runs a digital creative agency and she works for a
California based startup. They’re a very modern
carnation of a very old idea. They’re digital nomads. – Thank you. – [Narrator] Today, people
working remotely around the globe like this number in the millions. – A lot of people that define
themselves as digital nomads move around very, very frequently. But we typically move around
at least once a month. – [Narrator] The couple
say the extraordinary recent advances in digital technology allow them to keep exploring the world without compromising their careers. – [Justin] We rent an
apartment, we set up an office, we’re not on vacation. We live pretty normal lives. And so it gives us the
opportunity to kind of integrate and become locals. And try on different flavors of life. – [Narrator] There are down
sides to this liberating grand tour of new cultures and horizons. Digital nomads sometimes
have to be more nomadic than they might like. – [Samantha[ Just out of Curiosity, I wonder what the Visa policy is. – [Narrator] Location independent workers as they’re also known often
travel on tourist Visas and are usually restricted to a maximum of a few months in each country. – So, Fiji, we need to
go to so that we can get out of New Zealand before
we violate their Visa policy. – [Narrator] But some countries
are going out of their way to attract this new
breed of global worker. Estonia is about to launch a special Visa, allowing them to stay for a year. With other countries set to follow suit, some predict there could be a billion location independent workers by 2035. For those with no ties, it
all points to an increasingly borderless brave new world of work centered around the digital revolution. – [Justin] And it sounds extravagant. But we don’t need much to be
able to work and be productive. If you’re smart about
it, I think that travel can be a long term sustainable lifestyle. And it’s not that crazy. – [Narrator] Of the more than
60 million Americans who work over 50 million are employees. They work for somebody else. – [Narrator] In the middle
of the 20th century, many workers in the rich world, expected a job for life in one place. But today frequent job
changes are not unusual and 70% of professionals around the globe do some work remotely. These seismic changes are
leading to continual reinventions of that most traditional
workplace, the office. In San Francisco,
entrepreneur Frank Boulier is starting his daily journey to work. – Have to move from my
room, go down the stairs to my office space. I would say it’s a dream commute, yeah. – [Narrator] Frank’s part
of an emerging trend, living and working with other
people in the same place. – When I move from one
space to the other space I switch from living to working. – [Narrator] The space, run
by a company called Roam includes meeting rooms, relaxation areas and even a cocktail bar. It caters to the more exclusive end of the global coworking market. – You get to meet amazing people from all across the world
and I find that exciting. The vibe is less office, more professional commune. And the residents are glad at the chance for some digital detox. – We’re all tethered to our cell phones and we’re all tethered to technology and I think that what’s unique about Roam is that it builds community and it builds a communal living style that allows us sort of to unplug at times. – [Narrator] This kind of
communal living might have niche appeal right now but
2.3 million people worldwide already share coworking
spaces and there are signs these make for more productive workers. The Harvard Business
Review found that nearly nine out of 10 coworkers felt happier than in their previous place of work. And over 80% felt more
engaged and motivated. – I’ve never been more productive even though I do less hours. Would I ever go back to
traditional corporate nine to five? No. – [Narrator] Technology is
also changing how people work and live in poorer countries. Kibera, Kenya, Africa’s largest slum. Work here is scarce. The average wage is less
than two dollars a day. Joseph Kamau grew up here. – This is my first computer. – [Narrator] Two years
ago he was scraping by as a street hawker selling food. But today, Joseph is making a new living as a paid up member of
the global gig economy, the labor market where
self employed workers are paid to do short term freelance tasks. – For me, a person living here in Kibera how would I have gotten a
job for a person in America? – [Narrator] He gets up to
10 part time jobs a week entering data for clients
based all around the world. – It’s an amazing thing to be
living in this digital age. – [Narrator] Joseph works in
arguably the fastest growing segment of the gig economy
known as The Human Cloud. Some of the jobs that used to be done by white collar workers
in wealthier countries are now broken down into individual tasks. These are advertised
online and carried out by remote workers
scattered across the globe. This Human Cloud industry
is worth an estimated $50 billion dollars a year. Now the Kenyan Government
is training one million young people for this
new digital workforce. And helping them is the
outsourcing firm Samasource. – Brands have included
Google, eBay and Microsoft. – [Narrators] Freelancers
here work on a range of digital services
including image tagging for artificial intelligence. – [Woman] We’re training
cars to drive themselves. – I know, right?
– Yeah, it’s funny. I don’t even have a car but we are working on projects on self
driving different cars. – [Narrator] Some fear that the
flow of digital service jobs from rich countries to poorer ones could push down wages globally. But for many people here
the new opportunities offer a way out of poverty. – I mean, someone sitting
in the U.S. might say a job like this is not
paying a living wage but for us it really
gives us an opportunity to be able to bring some
of these young people into the digital age
and the digital economy. – [Narrator] Since working
in The Human Cloud, Joseph has been able to move
his family out of the slum. – I’m gonna join university next semester. I’m gonna do computer
science, my dream course. And, yeah. – [Narrator] In wealthier countries, some workers see the gig economy as less of an opportunity
and more of a threat. Max Dewherst is a delivery cyclist for a British courier firm who campaigns for workers’ rights. – How many jobs am I gonna do today? Am I gonna do 18 jobs or 30 jobs? On days when it’s very slow we’re not gonna make enough money to live. – [Narrator] Many online
platforms, those intermediaries between customers and gig
workers don’t cap the number of freelances that clock on each day. This can flood the market,
ramping up competition and slashing earnings. – It creates a kind of dog eat dog world and a very competitive
world amongst the workforce. – [Narrator] Some
competition amongst workers is healthy for consumers. But Max has a more fundamental complaint, that basic employment
rights such as sick pay and job protection are denied
to most gig economy workers. – They don’t have any ability to set the price of their labor. They don’t have any ability
to negotiate with the client. They have zero protection. Of course people like flexibility but that shouldn’t come at the expense of everything that’s ever been fought for for the last 200 years. – [Man] Those people have money. They have millions in their accounts. – [Narrator] Max continues
that fight as Vice President of The Independent Workers
Union of Great Britain. – And I said, well, it’s
only impossible until we win. – [Narrator] The union is
mounting legal challenges against large companies
operating in the gig economy. – We’ve taken a number of
courier companies to Tribunal from CitySprint, eCourier,
Addison Lee and Excel and now we’re taking on delivery as well. – [Narrator] To critics
like Max the lack of rights offered to workers in the gig
economy by big contractors is rapacious capitalism that
will increase inequality. – There are loads and loads of people on these bogus contracts. We see it more and more
spreading into other sectors, cleaning, retail, banking. And that’s very worrying. – [Narrator] Amid heightened
concerns about job security some workers are facing new pressures to become more efficient and productive. But what lengths is it
acceptable for companies to go to to achieve this? In Boston, Massachusetts
workers at this firm are being closely watched. Their every conversation is analyzed. Their every move monitored. – This is our Humanyze sociometric badge. – [Narrator] Their employer,
Humanyze has designed surveillance technology to gather data about how they spend their time at work. – So, it knows if I’m
speaking or not speaking. It knows if I’m moving,
whether I’m walking around or just sitting at my desk during the day. It knows generally
where I am in the office and it also can tell my proximity to other people wearing badges. – [Narrator] Information
from employees’ emails and calendars is integrated with data collected by their badges. – We have a number of sensors in them, Bluetooth that’s able to
do location in the office. Microphones look at how much I talk. Motion sensor to look at
posture, overall activity levels. – [Narrator] The company
says it uses this data to improve the productivity
of it’s workers and their work environment. – I see interactions within
my team, how many of my teammates did I interact
with in a week or a month? The same gender or the other gender. And I can see my dominance
in conversations. The green is my speaking
time versus the blue which is when I’m listening. I use this data as a way to optimize my work experience. – [Narrator] Humanyze sells
its surveillance technology to companies around the globe. And with more than 10,000 people now wearing it’s badges worldwide, business is starting to boom. – Because now we have all this
quantitative data coming in, we’re able to understand
at an unprecedented level. – [Narrator] This kind of
surveillance technology is raising fears about workers’ welfare and rights to privacy. A British report found that 70% of workers believe workplace monitoring will become more common in the future. Over 60% believe it will fuel
distrust and discrimination. Humanyze says it anonymizes
and aggregates data and doesn’t record the
content of conversations. But other tech companies
are developing ever more intrusive ways to monitor workforces, including micro chipping
staff and photographing them at their desks using webcams. – I mean, there’s legitimate concerns around this kind of data when
it comes to, for example, could your boss look at what your doing minute by minute in the organization. Can they look at what
you’re writing in emails and things like that? At some point someone
will do the wrong thing with this kind of data. – [Narrator] But in the
minds of many people there’s an even greater threat to the workforce of the future. And it comes from a new breed of worker, one that is relentlessly efficient, works round the clock and never complains. Robots and artificial intelligence are increasingly part of many industries. Machines will soon take the
wheel from truck drivers. And companies are turning
to new types of robots for mass production of food. – New worries about robots taking jobs. – [Narrator] Automation is set to cause mass disruption to working lives. – [Reporter] As artificial intelligence and automation grow by leaps and bounds. – Could lead to 45% of
current jobs disappearing. – [Narrator] But how
justified is this wave of automation anxiety
sweeping across the world? Are hundreds of millions of workers really heading for a jobless future? In a warehouse in Southern
England, the dystopian vision of a fully automated future
appears to have arrived. This swarm of robots is packing
groceries for British firm Ocado, one of the world’s most technologically advanced online retailers. Here, collaboration is key. – These robots are being orchestrated by a sophisticated piece
of machine learning. It’s a bit like an air
traffic control system. They collaborate with one
another, so, if a robot wants to pick a bin that’s fourth down in a given stack of
bins, it just gets three of it’s friends or colleagues
to move the top three bins out of the way and then
it grabs the one it wants. – [Narrator] But the robots
here aren’t working together to replace humans,
they’re working with them. The robots take containers
of products to pick stations where people put the orders together. – I think the job is a lot
less taxing on us physically. The robots themselves are very efficient. So, they take a lot of the grunt work out. They’re our little helpers. – [Narrator] What’s more,
Ocado say these robots have actually created
more jobs at the company than existed before. – None of the 13,000
people that work for Ocado would have a job, myself included, if it wasn’t for what we do
with technology and automation. As we’ve found new ways
to automate processes, the number of people working for Ocado has only ever increased because of the ongoing
growth of the business. – [Narrator] A growing body of research suggests artificial
intelligence and machines could create at least as
many jobs as they displace. One report estimates that
while 75 million jobs will be lost globally by 2022, there could be 133 million new ones. – We are on a journey
to go on finding ways to add automation but
it’s about teaching people to be more adaptable
in terms of their jobs and their skill sets
because the future is about the collaboration between
humans and these technologies. – [Narrator] Disruption to
working lives is inevitable. And insecurities will persist. How bosses, workers and governments respond to these challenges will determine whether
this new working landscape lives up to it’s enormous promise.


  1. Notice how the intro couple never mention having children

    Two cheers for Neo-Feudalism, the divide between top and bottom will raise precipitously and the middle will be wiped out. I sadly cannot see a future where this does not turn to violence as the competition for resources and the disparity of incomes increase

  2. and which country will house/take care of their health needs in their old age? which country do their taxes go to? if they go back to their birth country, having paid no taxes to said country, are they obligated to any help? a borderless world only works when resources arent finite-this lifestyle is a pipe dream. the roma and irish travelers have tried this life and to this day are suffering from the effects of it.

  3. I'm not afraid to die I'd rather kill myself than put up with this shit. AI creating jobs fucking bullshit stop fucking lying I know how these algorithms work and at the rate it's going people will fucking die

  4. The discussion ends pretty fast when you have it centered on ownership. The robots etc.. should be part of the commons. The Economist is pushing the cult of money and fake capitalism, they are specialist in information misdirection.

  5. wrong.. this new age is not about automation, is about AI, this mean that we are not talking about a tool anymore, we are talking of being replaced in every aspect that we can imagine.

  6. Best tool Robots work for free producing free robots for everyone making work jobs forced slave labor obsolete💝 Robots make money obsolete💝

  7. what a BS ending!
    if you think AI is gonna create jobs then you are a retard.
    these 13k jobs that ocado provided came from somewhere else.
    a lot of of the competitors lost their jobs so then can have their 13k jobs
    perhaps a 100k

  8. Hahahah Humanyze!!!!! What you do for human. Violate human rights n privacy. Heartless. BS productivity. Don't justify with that crap

  9. A farm local to me (Sussex, England) recently installed a robot that picks 25,000 raspberries a day. The owner was on the radio saying this was because they were having to pay more than minimum wage for workers because of Brexit (immigrant workers heading home). This is the reality of automation. Jobs for humans will go. It's already happening.

  10. The guy from Africa who is moving his family out of the slums, good for him.
    But, what about us in rich countries?
    We are becoming a slum.
    Someone said something that got me thinking, we the tax payers funded all the research to develop the new technologies.
    But, as usual we bail out corporation, banks, fund research but we don't enjoy the end results.
    We even indirectly bringing whole countries out of poverty while we are desperate.
    Yeah, you can certificate at least survive in Africa with 200 dollars a month, but in USA that's your cellphone bill.
    Mortgage alone 1200 in country.

  11. The whole world needs to be put on birth control.
    We need less people not more people.
    Especially in places like third world countries. There will be a ton of unrest, it won't be pretty.

  12. I need my work seperate from my personal life, no matter how cool we get a long.

    You know who else live at their job? The Chinese in mainland homie.

  13. 8:20 the 3rd world got us by the balls there or we can learn to be bosses exploting their cheap labor

  14. 12:30 fuck that I could never work like that! Lol suck my dick! Well stop working and start looting – hows that for human?! Lol

  15. who wants to work like a robot anyways? we need to use human resources better than doing something a machine can do.

  16. Sadly ur cobots will only work with u until ur replaced by a smarter bot– Ask the Chinese how many new jobs they are getting via automation

  17. I wonder how long it will be before we are all compulsorily microchipped? It will be sold to us as a good thing and that anyone who refuses must be deranged or up to no good.

  18. Me: "Doctor, I am suffering from a Wave of Automation Anxiety". Doctor: "I'm sorry. My program does not acknowledge that such a condition exists."

  19. it's funny i have only been able to find one yang banger in the comments. this is obviously a video they don't want you to see, because it goes against the whole idea that there aren't going to be any jobs due to automation. 17:34

  20. There will be pushes to make you more and more dependent on the system. Resist those pushes at every opportunity you can and reverse your trajectory by increasing self sufficiency

  21. The Economist is owned by the heads of the conspiracy ? Is it propaganda for their New World Order ? There is a choice from the people but they are too s$##% to keep the beautiful World…

  22. This is all grand until you have kids then you have to enroll in schools activities and travel is limited to high season school holidays

  23. Meh calling bullshit that's one company that supposedly managed in its market to keep enough growth to still hire people is a anomaly and or just smudging the truth. Anyone notice how they knew exactly how many employees they had before but didn't bother to mention how many more new ones they have taken on. Just forgot that number eh? What a coincidence.

  24. So Ocado might be employing more workers.It just means their company is growing, thus displacing a less automated grocery store such as Walmart.

  25. who's going to be able to buy the products from your automated factories when everyone is automated out of a job? I guess just the 1 percent hopefully they buy a lot of stuff to keep your companies in business

  26. YANG 2020 / FREEDOM DIVIDEND / M4A / Humanity First / Abundance Mindset / $1,000 per mo per adult / Solution to POVERTY = CASH in the hands of Parents and Teachers !!! YANG = YES !!!

  27. I feel bad for those people in Kenya, they will set up an "almost" economy then its going to get pulled from underneath them

  28. Gig ecom IT workers it,s all nice here is the problem the BOT is better and better worker every hour and U will NOT be needed soon .Do U have plan B?

  29. Yet another "wulp, that's how it is, get over it" piece. In the 1970's we understood that overpopulation was root of troubles. Empowering women reduces spurious birthing, technology improves carrying capacity, and it was starting to work. Now the narrative is Pollyanna BS. "Oh, well, floor it and we'll see what happens". A no growth society is coming. You know that. Don't fear the reaper, you are men (the spirit is infinite, unconstrained) not beasts (meat blob). Ask not what you can do for your machine, but what your machine can do for us. The grossly overcompensated managers of the World will fall farthest, fastest. They have been dazzled by their own devices, and A.I. doesn't care. Hopefully, necessity being a Mother, they will invent the way forward out of enlightened self interest.

  30. Argument: Humans can be retrained during this revolution.
    Counter: The average human can only learn so fast and industries change much faster than during any other industrial revolution. The weakest minds will suffer a lot as a result. We owe it to them to share some of the bounty so that they do not suffer needlessly.

  31. Without political intervention to moderate AI and spread the wealth it creates, redundant humans will have no money to purchase the services and goods enhanced by automation. It could be "capitalism without consumers." In such a world, the only opportunities will be in high-tech crime possibly via the Dark Web. Capitalism is a good servant but a bad master, moreover it acts without any direction except greed and with no concern for people, nation and environment. The uppermost .01% have only a few years before the American or British version of the French Revolution is upon us. They need to escape from San Francisco to New Zealand soon, before the riots begin.

    Is it any wonder the young folks of today are accepting of socialism? Capitalism itself may disappear if steps to compensate for the destructive social effects of AI are not taken by governments.

  32. no such thing as automation, wont happen within the next few generations. technology is slow and wont catch up to people for a very long time

  33. Just wanna say that the electricity necessary for all of this is Cancer in the city and the stuff of night mares too No one is the exception also who is going to buy the stuff robots churn out if there aren't jobs?

  34. Imagine if a terrorist or a Rothschild owned a food preparation business. They will chemically modify your food to kill you. Mark my words.

  35. That’s what I always wonder who will buy stuff if there is no jobs. How will the world produce resources for mass consumption.

  36. They’re employees not slaves or cattle. Microchipping. What sort of idiot accepts that as a condition of employment

  37. Humans: Fighting for a living wage and worker rights…

    Businesses: Lets just use robots they don't even need a lunch break.

  38. I still to fail to see exactly what these "workers" actually physically do…apart from sitting in front f a screen clicking & typing….clicking on what? typing what?

  39. The economist, a leading elitist publication. They're telling us how it's going to be, not debating it. Also aimed at making you grateful for your current servitude.

  40. These digital nomads are fucking liars. You can't become a local with only a month. You need at least 2 maybe 3 to get settled into a rhythm. If you travel AT LEAST once a month, jet lag will eat into your productivity. Unfamiliar surroundings also cut into your time.

  41. Human don't depends too much on mechine
    That what gona happen
    Slow down and think,
    We humans still have power over mechan,
    Balance is very important

  42. This is is where A.I.P the learning type creation for human joining balancers these aA.I's accountant's first place to service's. For work place monitors
    May have a down side about attitudes of human rights watch it and it is now we find new reasons to go over tomorrow's idea's of personal advices and stopping gang man tality by better advice.

  43. So apparently everyone works in an office. Forget about factory workers, truckers, blue collar workers

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