An article just came out from CNN asking the question of “Are Jobs Obsolete“?
I smiled while thinking “Knew so” and also as it reminded me of something that happened a few years ago.
Back in september 2008, few months after he had met me for the first time, my Beloved and now husband, wrote what he thought to be a provocative sketch about the future:
A Whole New Mind, A Whole New Gender, A Whole New World
The world of entrepreneurs is a male-dominated world. The great entrepreneurs of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century were industrialists, inventors, and salesmen: Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, P.T. Barnum, Henry Ford, Thomas Watson, the railroad builders, the retailers, the newspaper publishers, etc.
The great entrepreneurs of the second half of the 20th century were tech entrepreneurs and media moguls: Hewlitt and Packard, Intel’s Noyce, Moore, and Grove, Jobs and Wozniak, Gates, Ted Turner, Richard Branson, etc.
First we were a manufacturing economy, then we became an information economy. In both cases, the world we lived in and the wealth that transformed our standard of living was largely created by men. In a recent survey ranking history’s great entrepreneurs, the most highly ranked women were Mary Kay Ash and Oprah Winfrey: both highly successful, but make-up and a talk show about relationships?
Daniel Pink’s book “A Whole New Mind” makes the case that in the 21st century, the most important growth industries will be in the realms of beauty, empathy, harmony, and other aesthetic and quality of life values. He makes the case that Asia, Automation, and Abundance will dictate this transformation. Low-cost manufacturing in Asia has already displaced much of the manufacturing base in the developed world, and even some of the manufacturing in Latin America. Meanwhile, automation of manufacturing is continuing at a rapid pace, such that fewer and fewer human beings will be required in manufacturing processes in any case. And, finally, due to abundance, most of us in the developed world are already at the point at which we really don’t need any more stuff. We have enough quantity. From here on out, quality will matter far more than it has in the past.
The successful entrepreneurs of the future will be those who can improve the quality of the products and services we consume, especially insofar as those improvements result in improved quality of life. The growth industries of the future will be led by entrepreneurs who specialize in excellence in beauty and design, in style and fashion, in taste and elegance, in better lived environments and better social environments, in more harmonious workplaces, more empathetic and patient-respectful health care, in more humane education, etc.
Pink’s notion of “A Whole New Mind” refers to a future in which both the left brain, analytical, and the right brain, intuitive and holistic, will be more valued than they have been in the past, especially when used together. Although it is not politically correct to make gender generalizations, precisely because in the past women have had to prove their proficiency in a male dominated world, it seems likely that the future will favor women entrepreneurs to a greater and greater extent. Now that we have enough big cars and powerful computers, maybe we need more wonderful environments in which to live, work, and socialize; better human interactions with our colleagues and from our professional service providers; more design, beauty, style, and taste incorporated into every object we use, every thing we taste, every surface our eyes see.
Most business training is 100% oriented towards the analytical side of business. It is mostly by men, for men, to create male businesses, even when occasionally women go through the pipeline. But what if the next generation of business training is far more focused on art, design, style and taste, and on improving the quality of human interactions?
What if women are the real entrepreneurs of the 21st century, the ones who create not only the wealth, but more importantly the well-being, that we all so crave? What if they are the ones that finally shift us from a world based on quantity to a world based on quality? From a world based on ugliness, aggression, and stress to a world based on beauty, empathy, and peace?” – By Michael Strong
I found it so beautiful and told him so. To which he sent me the following email:
i get dizzy when you say nice things about me.
you are the inspiration for many little things – flossing and running every day
but you are far more deeply the inspiration for very, very big things
it will take you many, many years to accept all that i see in you
but despite any number of fights, arguments, and challenges to our friendship, at some point you will know and accept my profound belief in you
and you will know that my belief in you was based in good judgment
and some part of you will feel content and secure
with great love and respect,
I just had to share. A new era has come, I so profoundly believe it. Let the robots do what we have created them to do and enhance our lives. They and technology in general are freeing our time. Let’s use the new gained time to build and create which that only humans can create: more meaning for richer lives. So no, jobs are not obsolete, just the idea that a “job is just a job”.