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Future of work

Digital Futures of Work Global Conference, 1-3 November 2023

  A global team of 20 social scientists studying artificial intelligence (AI) activities across key digital hubs around the world over a four-year period spanning 2019 to 2023 unveil findings that the direction of AI innovation in corporate activities is to automate and unbundle professional work, putting the very type

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Tales of the Unexpected: reflections on the Digital Futures of Work Research Programme

When we began our studies in August 2019 there was a lot of media hype about robots taking jobs following studies claiming almost half of American workers could find themselves surplus to requirements as digital technologies including AI, robotics, etc., were getting smarter at doing our jobs. At the beginning

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Will generative AI lead to a degenerative workforce?

In the final year of our research programme, we’ve witnessed what’s widely believed to be a step-change in digital innovation, resulting from advances in generative AI. In some ways it’s a light bulb moment! The first street lighting in Paris for the 1878 Exposition Universelle, or in 1880 the first

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The ‘future worker’: the missing piece in the socio-technical imagery of the ‘future of work’

Perhaps, we have put too much attention on the ‘future of work’ that we lose sight of the ‘future worker’. I was reminded of this in a discussion I recently had with a robotics engineer, Q. His company creates cutting-edge robotics products and services. The chat with Q was very

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If skills are the answer, we could be asking the wrong question

At the Global Lifelong Learning Summit in Singapore1, I recently participated in a panel session on The Future of Work is Now: Workplace Learning for a Future-Ready Workforce. At the end of the session, we were asked for a final comment which led me to suggest, ‘if skills are the

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From paper and pulp to a digital front runner – Finland

Internationally, Finland is often referred to as a model country when it comes to digital transformation. In the EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), which has measured progress in digitalization across the EU Member States since 2014, Finland has continuously been among the top performing countries, and at the

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Global Lifelong Learning Summit, 01-02 November 2022

  The inaugural Global Lifelong Learning Summit (GLLS), jointly organised by the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) and SkillsFuture Singapore, was held from 1st to 2nd November 2002. The summit examined how different stakeholders – learners, institutions, enterprises, Government – can come together to enable effective lifelong learning as a

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Working Paper 7: Finland: AI, policy innovation and the future of work and learning

Finland is perceived as one of the most innovative countries in the world, resting on high trust, well-being and global engagement. In a small open economy, the ability to navigate and build strategic relations in a growing economic and geo-political complexity, strategic foresight has over time become deeply embedded in

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Work Integrated Learning for future-oriented capabilities

There has been a shift in Singapore’s educational institutions towards an emphasis on industry placements as part of the preparation of learners for work in a more challenging labour market. This shift happens across all levels of the workforce, be it for the undergraduates through internship programmes, the unemployed seeking

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Digital skills in lower skilled jobs

Workers in lower-skilled jobs are often seen as particularly vulnerable to automation as well as more likely to struggle with new digital skill requirements at work. With widespread concerns of growing digital skills shortages, and even a ‘digital skills crisis’, policy discussion focuses on ‘future proofing’ the workforce by retraining

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The future of no work?

At the very beginning of my journey, I was crowing with the flock that “disruption is here”. Your job is not safe. AI and automation will take away more than “minimum-wage jobs”. Armed increasingly with worrying labour market skills data, I pushed the same bandwagon that fundamental skill gaps required

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The emergence of the digital labour market and its perils

Rapid digital innovation is transforming how people look for jobs and how companies recruit. As a result, the competition for jobs is being transformed. Digital tools give job seekers new ways of describing themselves and employers new sources of data on candidates, in real-time and at low cost. But are

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‘Education, Skills and Work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ webinar on 27 January 2022

Professor Phillip Brown considers what is ‘revolutionary’ about today’s developments in digital innovation in the ‘Education, Skills and Work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’ webinar, organized by Leeds University Business School Centre for Employment Relations, Innovation and Change on 27 January 2022. Download and watch this webinar here It is

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Living, learning and working in the digital archipelago

Work-life quality is serious business in Finland, they have taken it to whole new levels! When countries across the world went into lockdown due to the pandemic, the shift to online operations was a challenge for many. In Finland, this was not the case as Finland is highly digital, but

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Working Paper 5: Rethinking lifelong learning in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’

Two key discourses of our time, lifelong learning (LLL) and the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), have been inextricably linked to offer a compelling narrative of the coupling of education models and technological change to enable individual empowerment, social inclusion and a shared prosperity. This article takes an analytical view, examining

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The future of work is distributed: the challenge of our time

The owner of a small business has difficulty hiring executives to support his firm’s pivot to digital. This is in Singapore, where locals aspire to join large transnational corporations or the public sector. So he looks to the region where there is a massive number of qualified professionals at far

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There’s a lot at stake in the future of work: a reminder that technology is not destiny

All industrial revolutions are characterised by changes in the nature of work. This is not just a change in the types of jobs people do to earn a living – from farm labourer to factory worker to computer software engineer, etc. – but also changes in the role of work

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Working Paper 1: Digital futures of work: reimagining jobs, skills and education for the digital age

Digital innovation is widely recognised as a game changer. Despite attention-grabbing headlines of robots outsmarting humans leading to widespread technological unemployment and counter claims that technology will create more good jobs than it destroys just like in previous epochs, there has been little systematic analysis or evaluation of exactly how

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