The singularity comes by 2050

Trend researcher Jánszky: full employment until 2050

Trend researcher Jánszky has been a frequent guest at saatkorn. In my opinion, his books “The Recruiting Dilemma” and “2025 - This is how we will work in the future” should be read by every HR employee. In my lectures on digitization and HR, I keep coming up with the discussion of how the working world in Germany will change in view of topics such as demography and Industry 4.0. In essence, the question is repeatedly asked whether we will actually experience a shortage of workers in the medium-term future, say by 2040. In recent years, trend researcher Jánszky and his 2beAhead Future Institute have dealt intensively with this topic in various books and studies. For me this is the most exciting topic beyond all specific employer branding and personnel marketing topics that I usually talk about on saatkorn. bring.

I had the opportunity to ask trend researcher Jánszky specifically for his opinion in an interview. In the conversation, however, many other interesting topics such as algorithm-based HR work, singularity (the amalgamation of man and machine) and changes in job and occupational profiles came up in this context. Have fun with what I think is the most exciting seed so far. Article of the year. Here we go:

Saatkorn .: Mr. Jánszky, the exponential development of technology has led to the fact that the computer "Alpha Go" has defeated the world's best Go player Lee Sedol from South Korea - contrary to many assumptions. A few times ago you too had estimated that it would take even longer for a computer to defeat humans. What does this say about the development of artificial intelligence compared to human intelligence?

The advances in the development of artificial intelligences have now taken on a speed and dynamic that we humans do not know from our previous experiences. The development of artificial intelligence has seen several peaks and valleys over the past few decades. Now it is about to become the technology that will change the development of mankind more than any other trend in the world in the coming decades. Their effects are far more important than climate crises, financial crises and refugee crises combined.

Here you can see what is currently probably the most formative phenomenon in our society very clearly: We humans always predict consistently linearly according to our horizon of experience. However, technological development is exponential in a constant doubling of speeds, capacities and efficiencies in the same period of time. This means that we humans are always wrong with our forecasts, there is always a gap between the forecast in our head and the real course of events. Some of us perceive this gap as something uncanny: as danger, as uncertainty, as risk. The others among us think this gap is positive because it means change. And change means the chance for the better. Depending on how each of us answers this question about chance or risk, he will put himself at the table of winners or the table of losers in technological development.

Trend researcher Jánszky: In 2020 there will be more intelligent robots on earth than people

saatkorn .: In your opinion, what are the main advantages of the rapid technological development? - How will humanity benefit from it?
First of all, this technological development of intelligent computers is something wonderful. We already have intelligent computers in cancer diagnostics that recognize this disease and treat it better than any doctor. This is wonderful because it will reduce the number of people dying from cancer. But the intelligent computers do not only do their job in dramatic special situations. Even in our normal everyday life. Intelligent computers will start their work in call centers in the next 2-3 years. It is expected that through intelligent data analysis they can predict 80% of calls before the doorbell rings. When the call center agent rings for the first time, his monitor shows what the problem is and what the solution is. As a result, people with our problems only have to call a call center once and get a solution, instead of five times with different people without a solution, as is the case today. We will love this!

Smarter computers will make our lives better in the coming years: They diagnose diseases better than humans, they find therapies, they develop regenerative energies, they help to clean up the environment, they provide worldwide education, they help the disabled, they are in hearing aids, in navigation systems, in recommendation systems at Amazon & Co. and in countless robots: vacuum cleaner robots, lawn mowers, surgical robots, rescue robots, industrial robots. In total, more than 10 million robots 'live' on this planet around the world. If we look around in 2020, it will be billions. Then we will have more intelligent robots on earth than humans.

Trend researcher Jánszky: Singularity from 2050

saatkorn .: And where does trend researcher Jánszky see disadvantages of this development?
For the next 30 years, the benefits will certainly outweigh the odds. It is the period in which computers are becoming more and more intelligent and are always better than humans in specific areas. They work as our assistants and make our lives better. However, in the foreseeable future there will also be a point in time when intelligent computers will also reach the general level of human intelligence. We futurologists call this state the “singularity”. According to current forecasts, this situation will occur sometime between the years 2050 and 2090. It cannot be said more precisely yet. But at least the probability is high that those under 50 years of age will still experience this point in time. And shortly after reaching human intelligence, computers will be superhumanly intelligent.

We do not yet know for sure whether this is really a disadvantage. But it will be an unprecedented challenge for humanity. Because from that point on, humanity will no longer be the most intelligent species on earth. What happens after that can only be speculated today. But both the predictable opportunities and the conceivable dangers of this situation are so gigantic that we humans are well advised to prepare intensively for it over the next 30 years.

Trend researcher Jánszky: Serious shortage of skilled workers by 2040

saatkorn .: Let's talk about the world of work in Germany. In the context of work, it is often predicted for Germany that most jobs will be replaced by machines in the very near future. Is it all just scare tactics? - The trend researcher Jánszky still believes in the path to full employment by 2040. Why?
Scaremongering! These currently very popular, alleged future studies, which today predict the loss of around 50% of all jobs in Germany and Europe, are scientifically incomprehensible. It seems to me that many of the authors simply copied off a 2013 Gardner study of the US labor market that found 47% of US jobs replaceable at the time. What is not taken into account: the educational level of the US labor market is well below the German one, and the economic costs of replacing human jobs with computers were not taken into account.

More realistic forecasts about the German labor market in the next ten years actually see a large number of jobs disappearing, but new ones will also emerge. Overall, they calculate a loss of around 60,000 jobs by 2025. Against this loss of 60,000 jobs, one now has to offset the demographic development. The baby boomers are retiring and the cohorts with low birth rates move up. As a result of this mass retirement alone, 6.5 million workers are lost to the German labor market. Please subtract the current unemployment rate of 2.7 million and the 60,000 jobs lost to computers from these 6.5 million. You will get a permanent gap of 3-4 million vacant jobs in Germany. To be clear: there are these jobs, but no one is available for them. This is full employment with all its positive effects on the individual worker and its catastrophic effect on companies, which I described years ago in my book "2025 - How we will work in the future".

It only becomes critical when the singularity is reached, i.e. after the year 2040 or even later. The reason is obvious: when a computer reaches superhuman intelligence, it will probably be able to produce a multitude of other superhuman intelligent computers at a rapid pace. Only then do computers really start to drive people out of the world of work.

saatkorn .: How do you think the working world will look like in Germany by 2040? Which jobs have a future and which don't?
In the years up to 2040 too, computers will of course become more and more intelligent. Accordingly, they will also take on human work during this time, especially those that only require a low or medium level of education. The consequence for people is that we will try to keep increasing human intelligence. The first signs of this can already be seen everywhere ... from the academization of many industries to experiments and ways of optimizing the brain through medicine and active ingredients. I am sure that by 2040 we will come to a situation in which almost every student in Germany takes the Abitur and people's general level of intelligence increases at a rapid pace.

At the same time, however, we have to state that the human brain can only be increased to a limited extent. In the long run it will not be able to win the competition between intelligences and computers. What happens then? Then the jobs will withdraw from the "production of rational products" and instead focus more and more on the "production of identities". Anyone who earns their money as an expert today, such as doctors, teachers, lawyers, travel guides, consultants, brokers, salespeople, tax advisors, bankers ... etc., will experience a great change. In future, he will no longer be paid to know a lot and always to “find the right piece of knowledge and pass it on to the customer”. Rather, all of these professions will become coaches. Coaches who accept that computers know better. But they always add the human element to their computer expertise: they are then paid to motivate other people, to accompany them, to kick their butts and to bring them to the next development step.

Trend researcher Jánszky: Job profiles will change massively

saatkorn .: What do people do who no longer have jobs? Are we then financing a large armada of non-working people with a few productive workers? Who should pay for that?
According to our current forecast, this question will not arise until 2040. By then, of course, certain jobs such as taxi drivers, travel guides and translators will be eliminated from the mass market and only appear in the premium segment. Other jobs such as teachers, doctors, brokers, ... etc. become coaches. But all in all, the German labor market needs every person able to work. In this respect, many of us will change jobs. Our social security funds will have to finance the new training and retraining. But productivity will increase, the economy will be buzzing ... the problem described will hardly be felt until 2040.

However, after the development of superhumanly intelligent computers, i.e. sometime between 2050 - 2090, the phenomenon described in the question occurs. Then there will probably be a multitude of superhumanly intelligent computers available for the job market. And the "production" of every new superhuman, intelligent computer worker takes place within fractions of a second through copy & paste. Nobody really knows what will happen then. Because this situation has never existed in the world.

My prediction is that how we prepare for it is up to us. Obviously, the superhuman, intelligent computers will then create gigantic added value with undreamt-of productivity and displace the human workforce. So we have to create the prerequisites so that these computers then pay taxes for their added value, and no longer the people. We also have to ensure that this tax money is then distributed to the people in a socially acceptable manner. And last but not least, we have to ensure that the dominance and power relationships in the world are such that these superhumanly intelligent computers can find a role in a democratically constituted social system. Because, of course, they have the dangerous potential to contribute to dictatorships by sole proprietorships, individuals, or individual computers. From today we still have about 30 years to prevent this. There has probably never been a bigger task in human history. But we have a chance to solve them. I am optimistic.

Trend researcher Jánszky: HR must deliver added value for predictive enterprise

saatkorn .: What does trend researcher Jánszky recommend to HR departments? In view of the developments, which topics should be the focus there?
It is obvious that some of the great challenges described can only be solved in society and also only globally. But the question of the HR departments of the future is also very relevant. I have described my recommendations for action for HR strategies up to the year 2025 in my book "The Recruiting Dilemma" in great detail.

There are two main strategies here: the "fluid companies" and the "caring companies". The hiring managers then become chief change officers or they disappear. Your task will be to control the fluidity of the constantly blurring boundaries between departments, teams, competencies and tasks. Your main working tool will be the company's change map. You will work with the highest IT and algorithm skills. This means that almost every corporate process is controlled by an intelligent (software) operating system.

An example: The workforce management of an airport is then controlled by intelligent software that predicts which person with which competence will be needed at point X in 20 minutes. Accordingly, the entire workforce processes are controlled by the computer. The requirements for leadership and HR are changing accordingly. Another example: In a retail company of the future that works on an intelligent (software) operating system, the computer predicts which goods and how many will be sold at which POS next Saturday. In accordance with this forecast, the intelligent computer controls all procurement and logistics activities as well as all human workers involved, if they are still necessary.

Mind you, I'm not talking about the current understanding of “Industry 4.0”. Most of today's “Industry 4.0” studies and strategies are far too short-sighted. They mostly only describe the networking, automation and rationalization. This happens of course. But the real effects of digitization only come after the computers, with their forecasting skills, take over management and control in the company. Personally, I no longer talk about “Industry 4.0” with my customers. I'm only talking about: Predictive Enterprises.

The challenge for HR departments will be to offer their predictive enterprise added value through their work. Many HR departments today will not be able to do that. It won't be around in a few years. We are currently working on their future roles with the others.

saatkorn .: Mr. Jánszky, thank you very much for the interview.

If you are now in the mood for more from trend researcher Jánszky, we recommend his Future Congress in Wolfsburg in June. I was there last year and absolutely thrilled.