A new report on the development of digital technologies has provided a glimpse of the future of work in 2025 and set-out the scale of the adaption challenge successful businesses will face.
The report is prepared by leading “futurist”, entrepreneur and author Ross Dawson for Intel Security and suggests technological innovation will rapidly overhaul the nature of social interaction, business engagement and even human thought patterns.
The report, Safeguarding the Future of Digital Australia in 2025, warns the pace of change will open up new work opportunities for some tech-savy individuals and businesses, but expose others to greater risk of fraud and job losses.
The report finds that work will become increasingly global, with traditional offices being superseded by online work-networks and communal co-working spaces. More jobs will fall victim to the rise of robots and artificial intelligence, particularly in mining and financial services, while others will arise in the creative sectors and fields where person-to-person interaction is vital.
The number of self-employed people will increase rapidly, while working hours will become more flexible. In the UK, self-employment has already risen 37 per cent since 2000 while employment has risen six per cent.
More children will become entrepreneurs while financial needs will drive people to work well beyond the current retirement age. Businesses will need to take new measures to protect their data and strengthen online security.
“Globalised work and increased automation will drive a polarisation of work, with exceptional possibilities for those with in-demand skills, yet strong downward pressure on wages and opportunities for others,” the report warns. “Our collective response to this division will be critical.”
The report contains a survey of 1,230 people and finds that Australians had mixed feelings about the rate of technological change. While 46 per cent said they would be interested in “virtual reality” advancements allowing them to stay home rather than go into the office every day, 23 per cent were uninterested in such technological advancements.
While 50 per cent of those surveyed felt comfortable with the rate of technological change, 17 per cent were concerned a further 30 per cent were neutral.
The report also finds social networks will disrupt conventional business strategies with more employers taking into consideration the reach of an individual’s social media profile when making hiring or promotional decisions.
People may begin to opt in larger numbers to bypass traditional institutions like banks and instead lend to friends or communities of like-minded people to secure a better return. Online social connections will also increasingly drive sales and marketing strategies.
The survey found that a majority of Australians (54 per cent) thought it would be unfair for credit ratings or job opportunities to be based on online reputations, compared to 20 per cent who thought it would be fair.
Most interestingly, the report suggests that those who have grown up completely immersed in technology will have different neurological wiring and will be the first generation to routinely impact technologies into their bodies.