If you’re anything like me, when you read “human-centered economy” you get a little starry-eyed. As in, space, the final frontier.
In our latest resource, The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out, Katherine Prince, senior director of strategic foresight, and Jason Swanson, director of strategic foresight, outline four possible scenarios for the future of work. One of them, aptly named “Finding New Meaning,” explores a future where, though there has been high technological displacement of jobs, “social systems and supports have helped create a new human-centered economy that derives value from human emotions, affective qualities and creative capabilities.”
Sounds a whole lot like Star Trek, right?
I have always been enamored of the future depicted in the world of the U.S.S. Enterprise, one where individuals pursue a lifetime of activities that bring themselves, and others, joy. When you’ve eliminated disease and war and you have the whole of the universe at your fingertips, it starts to make sense that we would reorganize our lives and our society around the things that make us uniquely human. And when you have the power to create whatever you need, for free, using replicators, including food, clothing, and shelter, money starts to seem a little redundant. How many technologies do we possess today, and can we expect to utilize in the future, that make it easier, faster and cheaper to provide for the basics? If we don’t work to pay the bills, what might we work for?
The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out is even more pragmatic, describing “universal basic income programs… and other mechanisms for funding social supports [that] buffer people against changing family and economic conditions,” all with the goal of “liberating human potential and creating productive opportunities to carry out meaningful work with social purpose.”
This possible future, though a promising one, will still require learners who are flexible, comfortable with ambiguity, and extremely self-aware. The additional three scenarios explored in The Future of Learning: Redefining Readiness from the Inside Out will also require some pretty unique skill sets. Whatever the future may hold, educators are in a prime position to begin the work of preparing learners for an uncertain future today.
You might even say, to boldly go where no teacher has gone before.