We are constantly told that the world of work is being turned upside down by ‘technology’: some faceless, anonymous, uncontrollable force that is somehow beyond human control. There’s no point resisting this exogenous, omnipresent force. The best thing to do is get with the program… and learn how to program! Acquiring the right skills (usually assumed to be STEM or computer skills) is the best way to protect yourself in this brave new high-tech future.
But what if technology isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? And what if you invest in learning the current hot coding language, only to see it replaced by something totally different as soon as you graduate?
In this 30-minute video, Centre for Future Work Economist and Director Dr. Jim Stanford takes on several myths related to technology and jobs.
He argues that technology is neither exogenous nor neutral: innovation reflects the priorities (and the power) of those who have the resources to pay for it. By some indicators, jobs are becoming less technology-intensive — and this is undermining job security and living standards. Finally, we need a more holistic and democratic approach to skills and training: one that respects the all-round interests of workers as human beings (not just ‘producers’), and accepts that skills alone are no guarantee of decent, fair jobs in the future.
The video is an excellent, free resource for adult education workshops, career development courses, and union meetings.
Tanya Martin Office Manager
Jake Wishart Senior Media Adviser