Scale your business

Why listen to these tech high-flyers about your work future?

The prevailing wisdom is that the fast pace of automation, digital change and AI (artificial intelligence) will soon leave most of us jobless. Talking with some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs around the world, not one agreed with this dark premonition. Rather, they pointed to a different kind of future we should prepare for.

Share article

A new two-part video series, The Future That Works, probes the minds of people who are harnessing AI and emerging technologies to help solve some tough problems. They see work changing beyond recognition in the future, but it’s not all bad.

Watch The Future That Works, Part 1:

Why listen to these people when it comes to predicting our technological future? Let’s take a look at some of the innovative businesses they front.

Breaking our addiction to devices and social media

Simby is a fully personalized, wearable AI technology that aims to break our addictions to our devices and social media while still giving us all the benefits of being digitally connected. Co-founder and head of product Andrew Doherty believes technology should benefit our lives and do no harm, and that users should have full control of their data. This ‘sassy best friend’ is still under development but coming soon.

The buzz around Beep

Organizations can be as buggy as bad software, with minor frustrations putting a damper on everyone’s concentration and creativity. Doing something about these problems can feel like swimming upstream, especially when management doesn’t understand how much energy small annoyances suck out of their staff.

Katz Kiely is part of the team behind Beep, a system that rewards and recognizes people for raising problems and finding solutions in their business. It puts leaders in touch with their employees’ real challenges, flattening the hierarchy and reconnecting people with meaning in their work.

Growing a business like a garden

Author and tech entrepreneur Aaron Dignan knows exactly how hierarchy and bureaucracy hold back progress in business. He gleaned this wisdom from in-depth study of organizations known for adapting to change and getting fast results, like Spotify, Burning Man and Basecamp.

He’s not only published these findings for the benefit of other entrepreneurs in his popular 2019 book Brave new work: Are you ready to reinvent your organization? He’s also founder of The Ready: An ‘operating system’ that helps businesses change their culture and see themselves more as a garden than a machine.

Watch The Future That Works, Part 2:

Smartening up the factory

CloudNC is bringing safety and accuracy to factories with AI and autonomous manufacturing. Their clients manufacture parts for air travel, space exploration and defense, among other industries, where perfection is necessary every time.

Full automation in manufacturing also allows for on-demand production. This option is in high demand since COVID-19 has made the global market and labor supply hard to predict. Co-founder Theo Saville says making manufacturing more environmentally sustainable is also top of CloudNC’s agenda.

Blockchain on the farm

Agriculture is one of the fastest-changing industries on the planet, while soil depletion, habitat loss and methane emissions come to the fore in the public consciousness. Farmers often face little choice in how they operate because they’re time-poor, isolated and face high set-up costs for change.

AgriLedger Founder and CEO Genevieve Leveille wants farmers to get the best price for their hard work, giving them more choice and making sure doing better for people, animals and the environment pays dividends. Using blockchain, AgriLedger brings users benefits like supply chain traceability, market information and access to finance.

About authors

Susi O’Neill is the Editor-in-Chief of Secure Futures and host of business tech podcast Insight Story. She’s a seasoned creative who’s led business content programs for brands including EY, Mastercard and Unilever. Off the clock, she’s a musician and performer who gives international performances playing theremin, the world’s first electronic instrument.