Living in 2025
Moneyball & Robots: The Problem of Living in the Future
As the 2011 film Moneyball begins, Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane is fighting a seemingly impossible battle. He has a mediocre team that is about to lose all of its best players, and no money to replace them. Through the lens of baseball’s then-current and outdated paradigm, his team is certain to lose. The real failure, however, is not the team or their resources, but an “epidemic failure within the game to understand what is really happening.” Over the course of the film Beane is able to turn his team around and revolutionize the way the game is played. In order to do this, however, he first had to stand up to the established way of doing things. Making enemies as he did so, he insisted that they "weren't even looking at the problem." Sure, they saw problems, but they were overlooking THE problem. No solution could come without it.
Students and families in 2025 will face many problems. Some will be familiar to the students of today. Others, we are only beginning to see on the horizon, but will upend the system completely. In 2013, Oxford University released a study asserting that within the next two decades nearly half of all current jobs in the US will be susceptible to computerization. The obvious question then is: which jobs are impervious to displacement by AI and automation? According to Erik Brynjolfsson, co-author of The Second Machine Age, professions that require the skills of ideation, large-frame pattern recognition, and complex communication are less likely to be replaced in the next 20 years.
That's great information to consider when selecting a career path within this timeframe. However, knowing which jobs are safest still fails to address the bigger question: how do we function as a society in this future? If half of the people are no longer needed in the workforce, what will we do to meet this challenge? We can't all be therapists, dentists, and trainers!
Students today, and even more so in 2025, need to join in the conversation. The youth will inherit this new world. Just as the Oakland A's needed to look differently at the problem facing them in order to succeed, we too need to look at society differently.
So, what is THE problem? Is it education? Government? Corporations? Or do we need to completely reassess how we function as a society altogether? Is it possible to have a paradigm shift beyond Work to Live? If so, how?