Robots and artificial intelligence are becoming serious competitors in the labor market. Sci-fi for decades, they’re now reality. It is hardly surprising the topic of work was a central theme at future conferences like the Brain Bar Festival in Budapest, London’s FuturFest and the Refactor Camp in Austin, Texas. There has been considerable discussion about digitisation’s impact on professional careers and the effects of blockchain technologies on work and culture. Fundamental questions were posed, like: What does it mean to develop future scenarios? Who does that? How can social systems and institutions be reimagined?
If you want to learn more about future work, you can't avoid blockchain. And eventually, you’ll come across the name Taylor Pearson. The entrepreneur and author spoke at Refactor Camp. In his bestseller "The End of Jobs" he explains why it makes less and less sense to be employed in the information age - namely because of new technologies like blockchain. In his essay "The Blockchain Man" Pearson describes how our thinking and acting will change. He theorizes we’re in a transformation from the ideal of the "Organization Man" (defined in 1956 by journalist William Whyte) to the "Blockchain Man". Pearson explains this profound change in a video interview:
Zhan Li's second interview partner is the managing director of the NGO China Residencies. Kira Simon-Kennedy, who he met at the Brain Bar Festival, helps international artists gain a foothold in the Chinese market and in Hong Kong. Simon-Kennedy herself lives in New York. In addition to her work in the NGO, she is a film producer. In the video, she discusses her short documentary "Commodity City", which deals with work and consumption in the world's largest shopping mall in Yiwu, China:
Toby Shorin, brand consultant and essayist, takes a slightly different view of work. In his presentation at Refactor Camp, he criticized conventional commercial and intellectual reflections on aesthetics and brand management. Shorin's analyses generated debate at the conference; he expresses skepticism about current models of product design and branding, and also about the way cultural and economic analyses are made. Find out more in the interview: