We are living through a time of upheaval, with increasing threats to global health, democratic institutions, and the world’s economies. But behind the alarming headlines is another issue that must be quickly addressed: the role of workers is being transformed—and often rendered obsolete—by automation and artificial intelligence. As Jamie Merisotis, the president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, argues in HUMAN WORK IN THE AGE OF SMART MACHINES, we can—and must—rise to this challenge by preparing to work alongside smart machines doing that which only humans can: thinking critically, reasoning ethically, interacting interpersonally, and serving others with empathy.
In HUMAN WORK, Merisotis, author of the award-winning 2015 book AMERICA NEEDS TALENT, offers a roadmap for the large-scale, radical changes we must make in order to find abundant and meaningful work in the 21st century. His vision centers on developing our unique capabilities as humans through a lifetime of learning opportunities that are easy to navigate, deliver fair results, and offer a broad range of credentials—from college degrees to occupational certifications. By shifting long-held ideas about how the workforce should function and expanding our concept of work, he argues that we can harness the population’s potential, encourage a deeper sense of community, and erase a centuries-long system of inequality.
As the headlines blink red, now is the time to redesign education, training, and the workplace as a whole. Yes, many jobs will be lost to technology, but if we promote people’s deeper potential, engaging human work will always be available.