106 Communications

6th Sense

Frankenstein and the Future of Work

September 2018 | 106 Breakfast Series, 6th Sense, Digital Employee, Student engagement, Youth engagement

At a breakfast briefing put on by Gti recently, Dr Paul Redmond drew on an interesting comparison between Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the future of AI in the workplace. In Shelley’s Frankenstein, her creation starts to question its master. Will this be the same when AI starts to become commonplace in the work force? Will there be only three types of worker: Those who make the robots, those who maintain the robots, and those who are bossed around by the robots?


Graduates today are facing many unknowns when trying to decide what to study and which career paths to follow. Will jobs now carried out by humans be considered as “zombie jobs” that machines can do more efficiently? Whole sectors may disappear, for example the risk of attrition to the accountancy profession is projected to be as high as 97%. For inspiration, companies and employees alike can look to companies that have stuck around (and remained successful) for hundreds of years despite changing demands.

It takes a lot more effort for students to stand out from the crowd now than it did a few decades ago. In 1968, 35,000 people graduated with a first but today there are 350,000, and while salaries have risen by 0.9%, this still isn’t enough to compete with inflation.

So how are graduates to prepare for the future of work, especially when growth initiatives for companies don’t always mean an increase in head count? While experts can guess at future trends, it is of course impossible to know the future, so although jobs we are doing today may not exist in the future, it doesn’t mean we will be out of work. Students need to develop resilience and the ability to adapt quickly. It’s not about knowing the future, but knowing how to deal with it, skills which can be developed through constant learning.

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