As machines drastically reshape the employment landscape, the labour market is forced to change and adapt as never before. New cutting-edge technologies are not simply influencing our skills, they are actively shaping them, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. More than one half of global companies predict that smart machines will swallow their current full-time workforce within two years. The question is what would be our role in a future where human work force is not required anymore? We put this profound dilemma before one of the most well-recognized expert in the fields of Future foresight, Dr. Oualid Ali.

Orange Magazine: The topic of this year’s Youth Global Forum is ‘’At the Crossroads: Industry 5.0 vs. Inclusive Development: Where is the Future?’’. Is going digital key to sustainable growth?

Dr. Oualid Ali: Going digital is very important. The fourth industrial revolution is defined by three words: digital, physical and biological. Key point is to use all of them in order to develop the sustainable growth on both
micro and macro levels. For instance, developing green technology is very important but combined with smart technology would make it even more efficient. The main point is to use all resources collaboratively in order to develop a sustainable growth for countries, businesses and, of course, individuals.

OM: Renowned inventor Elon Musk suggested that advanced technologies possess a fundamental threat not only to the work force but to the existence of human civilization. What are your thoughts on this?

OA: I prefer to stay on the bright side. I am pretty sure that in this fast-developing digital world there is space for us. Some human characteristics, like creativity and curiosity, could not be replaced by artificial intelligence. Technology is the primary threat only to the work force which is not ready to skill up. If you want to keep afloat, you must exposed yourself to eternal up-skilling.

Dr. Oualid Ali during his keynote on “Industry 5.0: Where we’ve come from and where are we headed”

OM: From your point of view what does a successful collaboration between humans and machines look like?

OA: Workers may remain relevant if they focus on using soft skills while leaving technical skills and routine tasks to robot. We have numerous examples of such collaborations, in particular some manufactures in Europe where humans works collaborate with machines, so called “cobots”. People are accountable for the innovative and creative part whilst machines are exposed to the technical part. They complement each other in a very efficient way

OM: What are the most valued qualities that young people have to obtain for success in the fast-paced world of today?

OA: Technology is often treated as the future of humankind. If you want to have your own place in this fast-developing world, you have to watch the trends of technologies, what is coming in terms of jobs. From a practical point of view, this means eternal up-skilling in order to remain competitive on the labor market. If you want not only to keep pace with the
volatile world but also to succeed, you have to up-skill and re-skill yourself. No one gives you power freely, you have to conquer it. Don’t wait for the future, create it yourself.

by Alena Tsimashchuk

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