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Future Work

The Dignity of Labor in an Automated World

Of the 11.8 million jobs created since the economic crisis of 2008, only about 80,000 went to workers without a college degree. What, in such stratified economy, where technology can destroy entire industries, is the future of work? How shall we restore and sustain the dignity of labor? The Center for Social Solutions is gathering data on what works, and creating a vision of meaningful labor in the coming century.

As we champion the arrival of artificial intelligence or what has been called the fourth industrial revolution, many worry about the loss of human jobs and what that will spawn. Universities, in partnership with industry, must begin to plan for what we do with that surplus labor. Will we be able to produce enough new opportunities for the marginally educated? Will education produce an even higher premium in the near term that will force a rethinking of the old divide between education and training? Is there a way to avoid the dystopic vision of the future that so many rightly decry? What are the political, social, psychological and economic consequences of such anticipated change? No matter the effects of automation on labor and work, we know that mere attention to wages and income evades the larger question of how we ensure the dignity of labor and work in the future.