Daniel Susskind, Author of A World Without Work

Published on07 MAY 2020

In this episode of Talks at GS, economist Daniel Susskind discusses the impact of coronavirus on the global workforce and how technology has transformed the future of work.

On how technology has transformed the workforce: “Every day we hear stories of systems and machines that are taking on tasks that we thought only human beings alone could ever do: driving a car, making a medical diagnosis, drafting a legal contract, designing a beautiful building. What does all of this mean for the vast majority of us for who our job is our only source of income?…What I’m trying to argue is that as we move through the 21st century, because of these technological changes that are taking place, more and more people are likely to find that they’re unable to make the kind of economic contributions to society through the work that they do that they might have hoped to make in the 20th century.”

On advice to the future generation of the workforce: “One choice is you try to become the sort of person who competes with these systems or machines. A different strategy is you try to become the sort of person who can build these systems and machines—who is capable of designing and operating them. What you don’t want to do is to be the sort of person who can do the sorts of routine tasks and activities that already these systems and machines can do. And I think one of my worries about education today is that often we’re training young people to do precisely those sorts of routine activities and we’re not doing enough to provide capabilities to compete or give those capabilities to build.”

Explore More Insights