The Future of UnEmployment and UnEducation

Think of the future

There was a time there were humans, and then humans and machines; and humans-data informed; and humans and machine assisted; and then maybe in the future only machines. One robot called Sophie has been given Saudi Arabia citizenship! This could be a frightening scenario but also an opportunistic one.

I come away from my travels overseas wondering why we in India are thinking of what we should have done 10 years ago, whereas the Americans are thinking of what to do 30 years from now.

If we can factor some of the long term trends into our short term thinking we will become a smarter and will truly become a super power.

By just focusing on now, we will not improve our competitive power, and may even increase poverty.

Kaizen thinking of doing many small steps to improve productivity is now being modified with ideas from the Ambidextrous Organisation by Charles A. O’Reilly III, Michael L. Tushman where they talk about companies exploiting the present and exploring the future. This is creating value from now and from the future.

India needs to do just this. Our pre-occupation with catching up in education, skilling, energy, employment, education and food has to be modified with positioning ourselves for the future.

Energy: Chances are that renewable energy and better energy efficiency will result in substantially free energy

Skilling and employment: Thirty years from now, unemployment will increase as most routine jobs will be lost to robots and AI. By 2040, computers the size of a cricket ball will be smarter than human beings. And because they’re computers, they never get tired, they’re never ill-tempered, they never make mistakes, and they have instant access to all of human knowledge. In fact, Osborne in the Future of Employment feels that 47% of US jobs will be at high risk in 20 years.Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance in Japanis laying off 30 employees replacing them with an artificial intelligence system that can calculate payouts to policyholders. Productivity will improve by 30% and the investment will be paid off in two years, after which costs will reduce further. Most automobile plants have robot systems and Tesla is almost all robotics.

But what is more worrisome, that robots are not potential buyers, and so sales will go down. This with other disruptive forces could be the end of business as usual that we know!

Large scale thinking and modification of our education system to tackle the future is necessary.I will discuss this later.

Food: Chances are that better nutrients and food supply systems will change, and food requirements may also change.

Re-design of the nutrition system may not require the human digestive tract, as auto-nutrition through special clothing, and nanobots going in and out of the skin giving nutrition and removing waste. Nanobots could supply oxygen to cells, making the blood system obsolete, and no heart or lung will be required. What will be left will be the skeletal system and parts of the nervous system! Sound far-fetched?

So this brings us into education and re-employment 30 years from now. But first, let us understand the background:


Stephen Hawking said the rise of powerful AI will be either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity. And I add that once this happens AI growth might be exponential.Stephen Hawking a few days ago stated that AI could replace human beings. He said the result will be a ‘new form’ of life. And if the goals of AI are not aligned to ours, we will be in trouble.

Robot nannies, robot pets, robot spiritual gurus are now available.

Already, AI is playing a bigger role in visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and language translation.

It also might be this new intelligence will find unheard of solutions. After all the Wright aircraft did not emulate a flapping wing bird, and Google’s driverless car does not use brain sensing and thinking.

Narrative science will replace journalists producing news stories, headlines, information reports without humans.


Eric Cooke, University of Southampton feels universities as we know them now have no future. In 15 years, we will have no students to teach (I think the time might stretch). Students want a good, professional job and degrees are evaluated against employability. But the professional jobs for which we currently prepare students will be done by intelligent machines, and no longer available to humans.

So why would students take on the debts involved in undertaking a degree course as it is conceived today, he asks.

This is not necessarily about technology but about humanity and learning. There is a school of thought that says that if you can be replaced by a robot then you probably ought to be!

Haptic screens (based on touch and vibrations), deep learning, deep qualia (of deep learning and blockchain) machines, sense-making networks, convolutional neural networks, smart network convergence, cognitive systems and cognitive computing to the future of teaching, uncollege and experience university, brain-computer interfaces, nanodegrees, micro-careers, are all reasons why our education system must change.

Experience universities, experience degrees, more hands on learning, applied sciences, intuitive way of knowing, and answering the question, and knowing what are all in the offing.Digitisation and virtualisation of education by following music, news, brain computer interface to learn or teach; Centre for the Unknown; Human centred design, community as curriculum.

Since we do not know the job market in 30 years, what are we to teach? 60% of the best jobs in 20 years have not been invented yet! Learning and working will give way to lifelong learning or learning and re-learning. More complex workplace and portfolio of micro careers will happen

Some of the new jobs created will be:

Productivity counselors, personal digital organiser, organisational disorganizer, personal life loggers, hackschool conunselors (hack rather than go to school), medical nanotechnoligists, digital history analysts, cyber securityprofessionals, medical naontechnolgists, work transformers, social media managers, sustainabilty officers, unemployment service managers, keeping unemployed people occupied managers, retirement service managers, classroom avataar managers, deep learning specialists using computers to figure out what something is, recognise how a brain recognises and machine human interaction specialists,  big data and information speciaists, cognitive using knowledge specialists, bio-ai interface/nanobot interface specialists.

Corporate CEOs should worry, too. For a while, everything will seem great for them: falling labour costs will produce heftier profits and bigger bonuses. But then it will all come crashing down… After all, robots might be able to produce goods and services, but they can’t consume them.

And eventually computers will become pretty good CEOs as well.

The lesson for India is that while focussing on here and now, start a parallel program for new universities based on technology and artificial intelligence, focusing on jobs of the future, and re-employment. We also need an university for the unknown, to bring about experts in handling and managing the unknown (the future), and making unemployables employable!


Gautam Mahajan, 

President, Customer Value Foundation and Inter-Link India

Founder Editor, Journal of Creating Value

New Delhi 110065 +91 98100 60368  

Twitter @ValueCreationJ  Blogs:

Author of Value CreationTotal Customer Value ManagementCustomer Value Investment

Customer Value Foundation (CVF) helps companies to Create Value and profit by Creating Value for the Customers, employee and for each person working with the companies.

Total Customer Value Management (Total CVM) transforms the entire company to focus on Creating Value for the Customer by aligning each person’s role in Creating Customer Value and getting shareholder wealth and Value.

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