The End of Jobs with Jeff Wald (671) | The James Altucher Show

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Key Takeaways

  • Jeff Wald is not concerned that robots will take all our jobs
    • He thinks that in the long run, more jobs will be created than lost
      • We have no idea what kind of jobs could be created
      • 20 years ago thinking that a million people would be employed in social media marketing was unimaginable
  • Jeff’s concern is whether we’ll be able to help workers transition to new jobs
    • A big question is, who’s responsible to re-train displaced workers? 
      • Will it be on the workers, companies, government or someone else?
      • History shows us that ultimately it will be on the workers
  • When talking about “The End of Jobs” Jeff refers to the end of the classic 9 to 5 office jobs 
    • We are transitioning to more flexible, remote jobs
  • As an executive, you need to
    • Assess the skills of your employees and the skills you’ll need in the future
    • Understand how to bridge the gap
  • As an employee, you should
    • Think about how monetizable your skills will be in a few years
    • Become a lifelong learner
    • Go hard in technology or in human relationships
      • AI is not going to replace interactions
      • Go hard in technology or in human relationships/communication

Key Products Mentioned

Intro

The Three Major Steps in the History of Work

  • To better understand today’s transition, we need to study the history of technology and employment
    • How did companies and workers adapt during previous technological revolutions?
  • Mechanization; moving from hand power to machine power
    • 600X Increase in productivity
    • People feared that all jobs would be gone
    • With time, many jobs were created as companies produced new products
    • This period taught us that a large imbalance between companies and workers can’t last for too long
      • This was a time of revolutions
  • Electrification led to similar increases in productivity
    • Workers counterforces started to develop (safety nets, unions)
    • Companies were forced to treat workers more fairly
    • After a period of transition, more jobs were created
  • Computerization
    • Similar patterns to previous technological revolutions

The Current Technological Revolution

  • How today’s technological revolution is different from the past
    • The Industrial Revolution took 150 years to play out, but this will only take 20 years
    • This revolution is happening simultaneously around the globe
  • However, Jeff is not concerned that robots will take all our jobs
    • He thinks that in the long run, more jobs will be created than lost
      • We have no idea what kind of jobs could be created
      • 20 years ago thinking that a million people would be employed in social media marketing was unimaginable
  • Jeff’s concern is whether we’ll be able to help workers transition to new jobs
    • We’ve never done this before at a similar scale
    • “10-15% of the jobs in the next 20 years are going to go” Jeff Wald
  • A big question is, who’s responsible to re-train displaced workers? 
    • Will it be on the workers, companies, government or someone else?
    • History shows us that ultimately it will be on the workers
  • New training technologies (such as VR headsets) can facilitate the re-training process

Are Self-Driving Trucks Coming to Take Jobs?

  • Jeff thinks that self-driving trucks won’t be on the roads anytime soon
    • In 10 years we figured out 90% of the cases to get self-driving trucks on the road
      • People assumed that it will only take 2-3 years to figure out the rest
    • However, at this stage the math is non-linear
      • Figuring out the remaining 10% edge cases will take a lot longer
  • Even once self-driving trucks are ready to get on the roads, it will take a long time before workers are displaced
    • Companies need to buy the new trucks and adapt their supply chains
    • Regulatory processes will take time

The Lifetime Employment Model

  • Jeff argues that even in the past the lifetime employment model was not as widespread as we think
    • The average time a person spends in a job in the US today is 4.2 years
    • In the 1960s, it was 5 years
  • Only some companies would keep their employees throughout their careers
  • With globalization, automation, and shareholder capitalism, the concept of lifetime employment totally collapsed

The End of Jobs

  • When talking about “The End of Jobs” Jeff refers to the end of the classic 9 to 5 office jobs 
    • We are transitioning to more flexible, remote jobs
    • This won’t necessarily lead to the outsourcing of most jobs outside of the US
      • People still want to see each other in an office once in a while
  • COVID-19 has accelerated this transition
    • Financial crises are accelerators of employment trends
    • They give companies an excuse to fire personnel
    • Once the crisis is over, they can re-calibrate and hire as needed

Preparing for The Transition

  • As an executive, you need to
    • Assess the skills of your employees and the skills you’ll need in the future
    • Understand how to bridge the gap
  • As an employee, you should
    • Think about how monetizable your skills will be in a few years
    • Become a lifelong learner
    • Go hard in technology or in human relationships/communication
      • AI is not going to replace interactions
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Notes By Giorgio Parlato

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