One of the essential questions of our time is what work will look like in a decade once the powerful windstorms of artificial intelligence, automation, advanced manufacturing, decentralized workplaces, and online commerce have more fully swept the global economy.
This question—what is the future of work?—has been driving the efforts of many of our journalists around the world, and today that coverage formally graduates to what we at Quartz call an obsession. Our obsessions are issues we identify as macro topics of essential importance to business professionals, which we cover on an ongoing, focused basis. Most are multi-disciplinary efforts involving several writers, as is the case with this newest one.
To get a sense of how we’ll approach the future of work, you can look to some of our distinctive coverage on the issue to date. There’s the impact of AI and automation: Quartz reporter Dave Gershgorn covered investor Kai-Fu Lee’s prediction that machines will in 10 years replace 50% of the jobs done by humans today, and I spoke with Bill Gates about his related proposal for a robot tax. Sarah Kessler wrote an optimist’s take on what the doomsayers call the “automation apocalypse.” She profiled engravers, who have the most automated job in America according to government statistics, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
In a different look at how work is changing, Sarah was also the first to write about how IBM is calling some remote workers back to the office. Then there’s the rise of part-time work and the redefinition, by ride-sharing startups and other companies, of what it means to be an employee. Our colleague Alison Griswold has been exploring what their arrangements with workers say about the future of jobs, and society’s support for those employed in the “gig” economy.
Looking ahead, you’ll see more coverage from Quartz as we try, along with our readers, to answer the question: What is the future of work for humans when machines are taking on more of it and companies and workers are rethinking their relationships to each other? You can look for it on qz.com each day and follow the Future of Work obsession here.
As always, we welcome your suggestions for coverage in this area and other potential Obsessions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org