The Most Important Question of Our Time
Programs that rely on artificial intelligence can use intricate algorithms to devise complicated investment strategies, steer automobiles or make chess grandmasters look like novices. This is an impressive achievement. At the same time, a Japanese study has revealed how incredibly dumb computers still are: Change a single pixel in a picture and the computer thinks the horse displayed in it is a frog.
This example illustrates that machines (still) cannot do everything that people can do – and vice versa, of course. Fortunately, robots are mostly good in areas that we usually find boring: repetitive, monotonous processes. The photo essay “Jobs of the Future” (p. 9) shows how people and machines might work together in the future – and create an interesting working world.
The interaction is not only harmonious – machines can also fully replace jobs. So the most important question of our time is: “Will we be put out of work?” Obviously, there are no definitive statements about the future. But in his essay (p. 6), economic historian Tobias Straumann argues that anxiety about the “end of work” has always been unfounded.
Peter Goerke, a member of the Executive Board and Chief Human Resources Officer at Credit Suisse, is even convinced that the fight for talented workers will intensify as a result of digitalization: “The human factor will become more important” (p. 30). And with respect to choosing a career, he advises young people to “have the courage to do what you enjoy doing.” Are you perhaps a veterinarian, a chef or a police officer? The impact of digitalization on your profession (and 85 others) is revealed in a study conducted by Credit Suisse’s research department (p. 34).
Millennials are bearing the brunt of workplace disruption. The eighth Credit Suisse Youth Barometer (starting on p. 57) is dedicated to them. Although most young people in Switzerland feel quite secure, many respondents in the United States, Brazil and Singapore doubt that their jobs will even exist in the future. The members of this generation are serious – but also engaged. And thanks to the sharing economy, they are developing an entirely new concept of ownership.
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