The core belief of Michigan Future is that because of globalization and technology, what made us prosperous in the past, won’t in the future. And that Michigan has gone from one of the most prosperous places on the planet for most of the 20th Century to one of the country’s poorest states today because we have been very slow to adjust to that new reality.
To understand what the current and coming reality is I highly recommend you take fifteen minutes and watch the You Tube video entitled “Humans need not apply “. It lays out clearly the reality that machines are increasingly going to do more and more of the work that humans are doing today.
There are no politics that can stop it from occurring. So the people that will be economically successful are those that are able to constantly adjust and learn new skills that complement rather than compete with technology. That requires building a foundation of broad skills, rather than narrow skills for a particular occupation. And the communities that are the most prosperous in the future will be those where people with those broad skills concentrate. End of story!
At the moment Michigan isn’t one of those place. Not close. Most troublesome is that we seem to be doubling down on the old declining economy and going back to education that prioritizes narrow job specific skills rather than the broader skills required for a successful forty year career. Not smart!
For those interested in exploring further how smarter and smarter machines are going to transform the economy I recommend reading:
- The Second Machine Age by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. The best book I have read on the topic.
- The Future of Employment: How Susceptible are Jobs to Computerization? A scholarly article that includes projections for hundreds of occupations on how likely each is to be automated.