10 More Questions To Ponder About The Future World Of Work


So i’ve been watching Westworld recently and it is brilliant. If you like cowboys, robots and rebellion, then this is the programme for you!

Whilst watching, I started thinking about how the future world of work could be impacted by some of these ‘pie in the sky’ ideas such as artificial intelligence, automation, using evidence to form the basis of decision-making and the like. Because, you see, they aren’t such pie in the sky ideas. The rate of advancement is impressive. The future might be here sooner than you expect. Exciting and frightening in equal measures.

So what do we need to start thinking about? Well, lots of things.

Back last year, David D’Souza wrote a great article for the CIPD with 50 questions about the future world of work which I suggest you read.

I’ve written ten more questions. Some silly, some serious. Most of which i’ve pondered myself. If you want to answer, great, send me a link or email them to me, i’d be really interested in hearing what you think. Or alternatively, maybe they will just make you think.

David’s had a go at answering them too, and his answers are below, so here goes…

1) If you could teach a robot how to do your job and do it better than you, would you, really?

David : I would resist it if I thought it was the end of my employment – and do it if I felt it would free me up for better work. I think it’s highly improbable that a robot could do my job because I’m special and everybody else’s job can be replaced but surely not mine.

2) If automation meant less people were needed and so redundancies were required, and you would receive a big bonus for managing the redundancy process (as well as keep your job at the end of it), what would you do?

David: Yes, if I felt it were a necessary step for the organisation to take I would want to be involved to ensure the process was carried out well, fairly and with dignity. I wouldn’t take a bonus (that would be my job) and I wouldn’t allow anyone else to pick up a bonus for their work either. Redundancies are, at times, a necessary evil. They aren’t to be celebrated.

3) Should robots be able to join a union? (I think I’ve stolen this one from somewhere, if so, sorry!)

David: At the point they are intelligent enough for that to be a question then whether they can join a union will be low down their list of priorities (and ours)

4) Could a Chief Executive be employed as a ‘dependent contractor’ one day?

David: If we reach that point I think the Chief Exec role would have fundamentally changed from what we currently recognise.

5) Will/Do we really need to share the same organisational values with our colleagues?

David: You need a shared purpose and people need to act in a way that is broadly congruent to that purpose and to the norms of the organisation. We aren’t clones so it will never be an exact overlay – but the more people pulling in the same direction the better.

6) Would the Premier League Transfer Window system (spot talent, negotiate transfer fee with current company, negotiate contract with employee, transfer takes place) work in the world of business?

David: I’ve written a post on this…What if employees ACTUALLY were an asset? Deadline Day


7) If we run out of avocado, will workplaces resemble a scene from the Walking Dead?

David: I hate avocado. I have no idea what consequence this would have

8) Do we have enough wires for all the AI?

David: An off switch might be more important

9) Will evidence-based hr/management be considered just another fad?

10) At what point will we accept the future has become the present?

David: I have no idea what this means. I’ll have to rewatch Kung Fu Panda


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s