Technology and the ways we use it is set to disrupt society and business in dramatic ways. So, what can we do today to mitigate the risks of tomorrow?
We asked futurists Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells and Alexandra Whittington of Fast Future for the top five actions they believe governments should take now to prepare for the technological disruptions of the next twenty years:
- Rethink education at every level
To survive and thrive we think and believe everyone will need to understand both the technologies and the mindsets shaping the future. There are lots of technological competitors to Uber and AirBnB. For the latter, their true point of difference is their mindset - a radically different way of thinking about how you deliver on customer desires without owning any assets or employing any of the service delivery staff. We also need to help people develop higher level skills that will help them learn rapidly and transition into jobs that don't even exist today. These include collaboration, problem solving, navigating complexity, scenario thinking, and accelerated learning.
Hence, we believe we need a massive increase in the provision of free adult education using existing facilities at schools and higher education institutions for delivery - most of the teaching spaces are unused in the evening. We also need to reduce pupil-teacher ratios at school level - the evidence is clear on the impact. This also means looking at the charges imposed on students pursuing higher education - we need a well-educated workforce to propel the country forward – not on that is demotivated, disillusioned and saddled with debt.
- Experiment with guaranteed basic incomes and services
- Expand support for start-up creation
- Research and development in key knowledge sectors
- dress the inevitable mental health challenge
There’s clearly a financial implication associated with enabling all these activities, but we have to ask ourselves what the risks and potential costs of inaction might be. A short term saving today could lead to a very long-term increase in the cost of funding unemployment benefits and policing a society that feels let down.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells and Alexandra Whittington are from Fast Future which publishes books from future thinkers around the world exploring how developments such as AI, robotics and disruptive thinking could impact individuals, society and business and create new trillion-dollar sectors. Fast Future has a particular focus on ensuring these advances are harnessed to unleash individual potential and ensure a very human future.