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WaaI – New Solution for work in post-post industrial world

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A lot of talk about the future of work is going on around the world.  Almost everybody seems to be worried about what will happen when robotization and digitalization take over more and more of jobs that used to belong to us humans.

Indeed there is a great need for new solutions because there are jobs that will never require a pair of human hands and the development does not show signs of getting slower. Just the opposite is happening, as robots get cleverer and handier they keep on moving to new areas of business, not avoiding even the work of the scientists, nerds or customer servants.

Following the discussion of the future of work in Finland, it seems that a lot of effort is put into making old models solve the new challenges. That will not happen, we think, and therefore we suggest a new design for thriving in the working life where in addition to humans there are several different artificial agents keeping the wheels of economic life and societies rolling.

Work Is Dying – Long Live Work!

Professor Richard Florida has shown  in his study ”Occupational and Industrial Distribution in Peterborough” that the number of jobs that include service and creativity will increase whereas jobs in the farming and manufacturing sectors will decrease to an extent that it is not reasonable to compile statistics in those fields anymore – even though growth is strong in those sectors. Somebody or something is working hard in farms and factories!

The former CEO of the International Federation of Robotics Dr. Shinsuke Sakakibara foresaw in 2013 that in the coming five years robots will create millions of high quality jobs – there where robots are used, we would like to add. The benefits of the development are seen for example in the US where Paul Krugman thanked robots for reshoring jobs to America (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/08/rise-of-the-robots/) . Reshoring seem to be trending in other countries too, thanks to robots and automation.

The window of opportunity is open. Robots and automation create new jobs, innovations, new companies and most important: new possibilities to solve the enormous global challenges we face in our times. However, the window might be closing. What happens when robots storm into service sector, offices and hospitals – places where we are used to see many post-industrial workers? The closing time for the window can be closer than we think – or want to believe. We need to get prepared.

Some politicians still hold on to a dream of a factory to where people swarm to work in five continuous shifts. We have bad news for those politicians: your dream will not come true. The first fully automated factories are running as well as fully robotized hotels. We can see the signs of the new world, now we need to act.

The Future of Work: From Worker to Investor

So, what is the future of work? Micro jobs, part-time jobs, entrepreneurship, these are some of the solutions presented, many of them are seen a part of sharing economy. However, will sharing economy be a sustainable solution? Even Uber that is often portrayed as a leading example of sharing economy have started to put a plan to use robots instead of people in action http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/22/uber-self-driving-car-pittsburgh

Will entrepreneurship be a solution to guarantee jobs for all? Perhaps not. Not all want to become entrepreneurs and probably there will be companies that need human workers also in the future.

What about basic income? A guaranteed minimum income could be a part of the solution but it does not solve the challenges of globalizing, complex and fragmented job markets. We need new solutions to offer people possibility/possibilities to create a concept for work, a way to combine several jobs in a portfolio that provides economical means for living and wealth creation, inspiration and incentive to use their own capacities optimally and enough safety to enable freedom from fear of survival.

Ladies and Gentlemen: Please allow us to present Work as an Investment!

Work as an Investment means that a person offers her/his work to a company or organization in a same way as an investor invests in shares. During the investment, a dividend is payed, and if the investment is profitable, it can continue. If the investment does not create sufficient value it can be denounced and the company pays the ”price of the day” for the investor. WaaI includes incentives for both the ”employee” investor and the ”employer” or the organization where the investment is placed.

WaaI is a way of doing business with one’s competencies and capabilities. It is not a time-bank where people exchange tasks. It is not a way of crowdsourcing either, even though there are some similarities.

Work as an Investment is a new way of thinking work and job markets, it is based on business- and investment concepts. Elina Lepomäki, a Member of the Finnish Parliament, writes: ” … a direct or indirect border-crossing trade of anybody’s competence is going on. There will be work only for those who have something to give in their domain and can provide it with a market price.”

WaaI is a tool for human beings to deal with their work input like an investor. The work input can be invested in several organizations and by so means build an investment portfolio where the capital produces best interest and grows optimally.

From CV to the competence portfolio

For workers it should be useful to assess their own skills and capabilities in relation to their factual (1) core work knowledge, (2) customer-specific knowledge and (3) strategic competence and knowledge. Each individual has his or her own competence portfolio. They negotiate and make work contracts in the labor market based on their own personal competence portfolio.

On the other hand, each has its own employee talent portfolio, which they can develop through training, education and self-improvement. When an employee goes to work for any organization, new work represents an opportunity to develop his/her competence portfolio more versatile and add something valuable to their own competence portfolio. Also, the employer has the chance to develop the whole company’s total human/intelligence capital portfolio. In the best case both parties will benefit based on Win-Win principle, i.e. the employee can increase the value of his/her competence portfolio and the employer receives an additional contribution to the knowledge-based capital portfolio. In addition, this kind of competence portfolio may be the great possibility for a wide range of investment opportunities and business agreements.

Like in the business world, start-ups and companies develop new business models, workers should also develop new kind of competence portfolio models, which help them to diversify risks and work investments in their personal life. Modern portfolio theory (MPT) is a theory on how risk-averse investors can construct portfolios to optimize or maximize expected return based on a given level of market risk, emphasizing that risk is an inherent part of higher reward. This kind of MPT thinking can be applied also to work markets, where workers invest in their competence portfolios. Why we allow risk management based concept/model? On the MPT for companies, but we do not allow the MPT for workers? Indeed, the WaaI model allows portfolio thinking for all workers.

Like in stock markets investors invest in many companies, WaaI suggest that workers could invest their work input in several companies. A WaaI -investor can have a number of human capital portfolio contracts. This requires, of course, that the investors’s and the company’s roles are very clear, which is  not always true in the conventional labor market.

There are also many trainers and educational organizations, that can be involved in the contract and competence portfolio model. For example, today through crowdsourcing business models citizens will reach very “divergent model” agreements in the labor market. Actually, some of these new contract models are not particularly fair. If you want to see work as an investment, it requires a kind of an investment agreement with an investment commitment to a genuine on both sides of portfolio contractors. Admittedly, new research is needed to clarify the operating work contract models in which both workers and employers are free to agree on the terms of the work carried out. In the very traditional model of “paid work”, involved parties do not have a clear idea of the portfolio investment model, which makes it a high-risk contract model in the rapidly changing labor markets. The traditional model of “paid work” or employment also displaces many people from the labor market, if they are not ready to set up their own companies. This is a real problem in the freelancer work market.

A useful model to understand the key components of competence portfolio was developed by Professor John Holland when the RIASEC personality model was formulated. According to this model, people´s orientation can be classified as Realistic (Realistic), Investigating (Investigative), Artistic (Artistic), Social (Social), Enterprising (Enterprising) and Conventional (Conventional). This model has proven to be useful and reliable scientific basis as a model example of competence portfolio with strong career planning point of view. When the work is seen as an investment, the WaaI model can help people in their career planning and support people’s inherent personality traits and talents.

Figure 1 shows an integrated WaaI model with key elements: (1) Human capital classification of core work knowledge customer knowledge and strategic skills knowledge, (2) human personality and competence model based on Holland’s RIASEC model, and (3) competence & qualifications needs analysis of organizations and companies, which should have a very clear connection with companies needing core work knowledge, customer knowledge and strategic skill knowledge.

WaaIFigureNew

This kind of integrated WaaI model could be useful, for example, when labor unions, public agencies and private agencies want to develop effective local bargaining system (in Finland?). This conceptual model would also help to orient training and educational organizations providing the right kind of core work knowledge, customer knowledge and strategic knowledge. In Finland, the key challenge is to form a correct big picture of the knowledge capital of future(s?) of labor markets. In addition, correct precision training of national talent pool is by no means an easy thing to accomplish. Integrated WaaI model and the associated WaaI -portfolio competence model could be an effective and realistic approach to these future challenges.

Digital applications WaaI’s tools

In Finland, which is modern knowledge and innovation society, we can easily develop new intelligent digital applications, that  would help to improve matching of firms and employees to the knowledge capital in a rapidly changing global labor market. Work as an Investment model could be a more realistic way of working in the changed social circumstances. The local intelligent bargaining model of labor markets, which functions digitally, could be sufficiently ambitious and bright model for the future developments of the labor market.

WaaI is a new social innovation. All sides of labor market stakeholders can benefit from WaaI in a big way. Like all inventions, the WaaI model also calls people for the further developments and piloting. After WaaI 1.0 comes WaaI 2.0. Nowadays, when more labor market flexibility is much desired, we need more dynamic experiment cultures and courage to make a new WaaI idea function in changing realities of work markets.

Helsinki 8.3.2016

Cristina Andersson and Jari Kaivo-oja

More information:

Bridgstock, R. (2009) The graduate attributes we’ve overlooked: enhancing graduate

employability through career management skills. Higher Education Research & Development

28(1), 31–44.

Eby, L., Butts, M., & Lockwood, A. (2003) Predictors of success in the era of the boundaryless

career. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24(6), 689–708.

 

Foray, D., & Lundvall, B. (1996). The knowledge-based economy: From the economics of

knowledge to the learning economy. In Employment and growth in the knowledge-based

economy. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

 

Harvey, L. (2001) Defining and measuring employability. Quality in Higher Education, 7(2),

97–109.

Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices: A theory of vocational personalities and work environments (3rd ed.). Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.

Jones, C., & deFillippi, R.J. (1996). Back to the future in film: Combining industry and selfknowledge

to meet the career challenges of the twenty-first century. Academy of Management Executive, 10(4), 89–103.

Mind Tools (2016) Holland’s Codes. Shaping a Career That Suits Your Personality https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCDV_98.htm

Smart, J. C. (2010) Differential patterns of change and stability in student learning outcomes in Holland’s academic environments: The role of environmental consistency. Research in Higher Education, 51, 468-482.

Smart, J. C., Feldman, K. A., & Ethington, C. A. (2006) Holland’s Theory and Patterns of College Success, Commissioned Report for the National Symposium on Postsecondary student success: Spearheading a dialog on student success, National Postsecondary Educational Cooperative.

Smart, J. C., Feldman, K. A., & Ethington, C. A. (2000) Academic disciplines: Holland’s theory and the study of college students and faculty. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.

Smart, J. C., & McLaughlin, G. W. (1974) Variations in goal priorities of academic departments: A test of Holland’s theory. Research in Higher Education, 2, 377-390.

Tracey, T. J. (2008) Adherence to RIASEC structure as a key decision construct. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 55, 146–157.

Florida, Richard, (2013) Occupational and Industrial Distribution in Peterborough:  A Benchmark and Comparison Study. Martin Prosperity Institute.

 

Monipaikkatyö vai muuttoauto, Outi Lammin blogi 22.1.2016 http://www.outilammi.fi/blogi/2016/01/monipaikkatyo-vai-muuttoauto/

Suomella yllättävän hyvät aseet robottien vallankumoukseen, Yle 24.1.2016  http://yle.fi/uutiset/suomella_yllattavan_hyvat_aseet_robottien_vallankumoukseen__koulutus_puree_tahankin/8620829

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Challenging Futures of Human Beings and Creative Class: Visions of Robots, Bohemians, Bohemian Robots and Robotized Bohemians

The concept of robotization was presented in 1927. Robotization is the process of turning a human being into a robot. Close synonyms of robotization are mechanization and automation. In the on-going process of robotization humans will be made persons who are machinelike, as in giving responses or performing work. Robotized assembly lines are good examples of robotization. Robotization has not reached saturation point.

Just as William Whyte’s 1956 classic book The Organization Man showed how the organizational ethos of that industrial age permeated every aspect of life, Richard Florida described a society in which the creative ethos is increasingly dominant. The rise of creative class is today´s reality in the global economy. Millions of people are beginning to work and live much as creative types like artists and scientists always have done. This “creative class” is found in a variety of business fields, art to science, research to development, biotech to education, from engineering to theater, and architecture to small business. In this way the scale and scope of bohemian cultures is broadening. In the future, members of the creative class will determine how workplaces are organized, what companies will prosper or go bankrupt, and even which cities will thrive or wither. Bohemians of the creative class are really important social group. Our mind sights, core values, tastes, our personal relationships, our choices of where to live, and even our sense and use of time are changing radically.

Now robotization is coming to other business and societal areas, to more complex work tasks, even to the works of creative class. For example, robotization of war and robotization of many welfare health services are going on. In the field of information technology applications, ubiquitous technologies make robotization more intensive and fast. Robots will be combinations of hardware and software. Ubiquitous technologies combine hardware and software systems.

Now, it is actual situation to reflect what human´s destiny is in the highly robotized society. Reorganization of the labor market is in front of us. For example, we can just ask, what China and India will do with the on-going robotization process?
Bohemians are very different compared to bohemians. Bohemians are not as obedient as robots. An obedient worker is still the ideal employee compared to the bohemian workers. Bohemian employees are expected to be more sick leaves compared with the robots. Robots need just technical maintainers. People need more extensive support services, for example, occupational health services and holidays. Robots do not go crazy. Robots can also work on weekends. So robots are having a lot of advantages compared to the bohemian people.

In the robotized society leadership, management and strategies will change significantly. The term “singularity” was coined by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge, who argues that artificial intelligence, human biological enhancement or brain-computer interfaces could be possible causes of the singularity. Especially people’s own self-management strategies and models will be important issues. The big challenge of post-modern societies is the thorough preparation of the fact that robots are superior workers compared to humans. We can reasonably argue that in the conditions of robotization, people should become even more human, unique and special. Man cannot survive in the competition with robots in other way than by highlighting her/his own special human characters.

Actually all the humans will face a strong pressure to be more bohemians, very special persons. A bohemian robot is a future vision, which is not so easy to engineer or re-engineer. Avoiding becoming an average is a big challenge for people in the robotized industries and business life. Always some of the medium must be matched. This problem will remain.

A bohemian robot is less likely to be the future mission that a robotized bohemian. Actually both “robot” missions are still challenging. We can expect that in the futures there will be all the variations of robotization.

And machine intelligence, a product of human design, will be far more intelligent than its human creator. Thus, there will be bohemians, robots and robotized bohemians and bohemian robots. How long this process takes, is still an open question.

Technological singularity refers to the hypothetical future emergence of greater-than-human intelligence through technological means, very probably resulting in explosive super-intelligence. Singularity expert and scholar Raymond Kurzweil notes that the expected milestone year will be 2045 in terms of when he expects computer-based intelligences to significantly exceed the sum total of human brainpower.

Kurzweil predicts also that silicon-based life forms with the thinking capacity of humans should start arriving on the scene around 2029. This technological forecasting estimate is based on Kurzweil’s theory of “time and chaos,” which suggests that evolutionary time is accelerating. To sum up, there are very good reasons to think the future of robotized society. The bohemian alternative is one way to create counter forces and alternatives for a robotized society.

Index
1 Robotization
Web: http://www.wordswarm.net/dictionary/robotization.html
Web: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/robotization
2 Robotization of war
Web: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27529
3 Willian H. Whyte
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_H._Whyte
4 The Organization Man
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Organization_Man
5 Richard Florida
Web: http://www.creativeclass.com/richard_florida
6 Creative Class
Florida, Richard (2002) The Rise of Creative Class. And How it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York: Perseus Book Group.
Florida, Richard (2005) The Flight of the Creative Class: The New Global Competition for Talent. HarperBusiness, HarperCollins.
Hoyman, Michele & Faricy, Christopher (2009) It takes a village: A test of the creative class. Social capital and human capital theories. Urban Affairs Review. Vol. 44, pp. 311-333.
7 Raymond Kurzweil
Web: http://fi.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Kurzweil
8 Vernor Vinge
Web: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vernor_Vinge
9 Technological singularity
Kurzweil, Raymond (1999) The Age of Spiritual Machines. New York: Viking.
Kurzweil, Raymond (2005) The Singularity is Near. Penguin Group.

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