What is the future?

Analysts and researchers predict that over 50% of current jobs will not exist in less than 20 years because of automation and technological improvements. John Hagel in his blog on the future of work suggests that educationists and politicians have it all wrong. STEM and STEAM are not the way to go (Science Technology Engineering Arts and Maths). He suggests (among other things) that these disciplines are the disciplines most likely to be effected by automation therein creating a chicken and egg scenario. Going into these ‘disciplines’ will also mean potential job extinction.

So what do we do? Its seems like our own intelligence is sending us all to hell in handbasket!

Not quite.

It is our very intelligence and our creativity that will save us from oblivion. Hagel goes on to provide us with an example of the types of work (not jobs) that will exist into our future.

  • Craftspeople and artists
  • Customizers
  • Curators
  • Coaches
  • Counselors
  • Compelling experience hosts
  • Community hosts/moderators
  • Captivating performers

This is not an exhaustive list and I wonder whether there was a deliberate ploy to start them all with the same letter. The letter ‘C’. Could it be because all of these types of work/vocation are creative? But only two instantly jump out as being ‘artistic’…

These are the types of vocations where automation could never take over. Automation suggests repetition, which suggests uniformity, which suggests sameness or widgets. Automation can never be creative. Each and every one of these vocations and many more in similar veins require creative thought at the very core of their skill base and most of them are not inherently viewed as ‘creative’.

Whilst STEM or STEAM may present the science behind the why and how we do things, it is the creativity, the artisan that we apply to these dogma which truly sets us up for a varied, exciting and incredibly bountiful and diverse future. We must never lose sight of the science, but we must always implement science as artists, as Creatives.

In industries or vocations where creativity or free thinking seems like a fading star in a galaxy far, far away, we can find artists implementing science to demonstrate the commonalities between groups. Adam Driver, the actor who portrayed Kylo Ren in Stars Wars, Episode VII, The Force Awakens supports the above argument in demonstrating how two industries as diverse as the military and acting can share creative similarities and learn from each other.

We constantly underestimate how creative we are. Unless we are involved in the ‘Arts’ we can’t possibly be creative. On the contrary, in every endeavour we undertake we are being creative. We are being artists. All it takes is to view the world differently.

All creative thought has to some from something. Zero times zero will always equal zero; that’s a mathematical fact. Nothing cannot possibly come from nothing. ‘Original’ ideas will always be based in something. Our mind is incredibly adept at interpretation. Everybody will interpret something differently to another based on their world view. This is creative thinking in and of itself. We must never take anything for granted.

Ponder then for a moment… is it not then the Artist that creates the Science – making the circle complete?

The featured artwork in the post has kindly been provided by Jodi Bowen – a true creative.



Shane Mallory

Shane is a performer, emcee, host, communicator, creative, mentor and innovative theatre director. He lives in Ipswich, Queensland with his wife Natalie, who are almost 'empty nesters' providing a home for their two daughters' dog and two cats.


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