The Four Futures of Work

Most studies on the future of work have focussed on the impact of technology on job losses alone, but there are far broader effects, including the impact of technological shift on surveillance, AI-led recruitment practices and the growth of gig platforms, which would not exist without the powerful algorithms that underpin them.

Commentators tend to misrepresent technological change; to overreach in their predictions. Meanwhile hindsight makes fools out of them. Uncertainties like the health of the global economy, the level of net migration to the UK, and advances in digital technologies like the ‘Internet of Things’ and the rise in the east and west of blockchain: these are all essential but elusive points on a complex and developing future picture.

How do we go about navigating all of this? To bring all this context and all these uncertainties to the table in a credible way the RSA deployed a method known as morphological analysis, informed by expert input and advised on by their project partners Arup. The results of this were modelled by the RSA Future Work Centre’s myrmidons to produce four detailed snapshots of what our labour market could look like in 2035.