March 4, 2021

Work of the Future

Work of the Future

Augmented reveals the stories behind the new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers. 

In episode 7 of the podcast, the topic is: The Work of the Future. Our guest is Elisabeth Reynolds, Executive Director, MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future.

In this conversation, we talk about Why is the Work of the Future is particularly relevant now? Why did MIT take this initiative and what did the task force learn? Which specific "institutional innovations" are necessary? What will be the adoption curve for Industry 4.0 technologies? I ask her what the next decade will look like. Finally, we discuss how to stay up to date?

After listening to this episode, check out MIT Work of The Future as well as Elisabeth Reynolds's social profile.

  • MIT Work of The Future (@workofthefuture):
  • Elisabeth Reynolds (@LReynoldsMITIPC):

My takeaway is that the work of the future has just begun. In fact, we are discovering how advanced automation doesn't necessarily mean that robots are taking over, or at least that as robots and software - or both together - move into the workforce, and roll onto the factory floor, there are so many jobs still for humans to do, which is reassuring. But the structural changes in the labor market will be profound, and workers, organizations and governments alike need to prepare now and be ready. Change is upon us.

Thanks for listening. If you liked the show, subscribe at or in your preferred podcast player, and rate us with five stars. If you liked this episode, you might also like episode 4 on A Renaissance in Manufacturing or episode 2 on How to Train Augmented Workers

Augmented--the industry 4.0 podcast.


Work of the Future_mixdown

Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:00:00] Augmented reveals to stories behind the new era of industrial operations, where technology will restore the agility of frontline workers. In episode seven of the podcast, the topic is the work or the future. Our guest is Elizabeth Reynolds, executive director, MIT taskforce on the work of the future. In this conversation, we talked about why the work of the future is particularly relevant.

[00:00:25] Now, why did MIT take this initiative and what did the task force. Which specific institutional innovations aren't necessarily what will be the adoption curve for industry 4.0 technologies? I ask her what the next decade would look like. Finally, we discussed how to stay up to date. Augmented is a podcast for leaders hosted by futurists through an and hype presented by Tulip product code.

[00:00:52] The Manufacturing app platform and associated with MFG works. The Manufacturing up-skilling community, launched at the World. Economic each episode, dives deep into a contemporary topic of concern across the industry and airs at 9:00 AM us Eastern time. Every Wednesday, Augmented the industry 4.0 podcast.

[00:01:14] Liz. It's great to have you here.

[00:01:17] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:01:17] I love being here.

[00:01:19] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:01:19] Let's you have, you are many things. You are currently an executive director at the working with the, on a work of the future at MIT, but you've been doing so many exciting things in Manufacturing. Throughout your career. And I wanted to bring you back to Montreal and your PhD at MIT, then the, both in economics and in other fields, how is it that you got to work so much with Manufacturing throughout your career?

[00:01:45]And then. Pinnacle at MIT is to lead the project on the work of the future, which of course goes beyond Manufacturing. But as we'll get back to the core of a lot of our economies, of course, Manufacturing T how did you start this journey?

[00:01:59] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:01:59] Yeah, that's a really good question. I like to say I started in investment banking and I've been downwardly mobile ever since.

[00:02:05] So that was my first job out of Out of university. And then essentially I was really interested in understanding, I think at that time global, global dynamics, globalization, and what was happening in the world in the late eighties and nineties, but combining that with issues related to social policy, social justice, and so in this interesting way with economics and Sort of social minded, economic development in mind.

[00:02:33] I gravitate toward Manufacturing because Manufacturing actually historically has been a very solid. Industry for providing middle wage, middle skill jobs. It's been something that has been at the Heartland of America or in places, it's, you can find it everywhere. It doesn't have to be necessarily in the glittering cities with the All the most highly educated, and it also has a tremendous amount of capacity for innovation.

[00:03:03] And I think innovation as a driver of economic development, it makes it really important. So I. Sort of in some ways, March toward I was working toward issues of economic development. Before I moved to MIT, I was working with professor Michael Porter of the Harvard business school with a nonprofit.

[00:03:19] He started called the initiative for competitive inner city, which was about building urban economies, inner city economies, where we often have low income workers, et cetera, where we would find our manufacturing base. And so I was working in those areas and then moved it, progressively toward regional economic development.

[00:03:37] And and then at MIT did my PhD on bio Manufacturing bio Manufacturing, one of the more complicated forms of Manufacturing and one area that the U S really is a leading competitor.

[00:03:49] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:03:49] I don't want to harp on this, clearly being a woman in Manufacturing in any role, whether it's researching Manufacturing on the shop floor or managing or leading Manufacturing firms.

[00:04:01] Tell me a little bit about that aspect before we get into kind of the meat of the work that MIT is currently doing. It's an interesting dynamic and it's obviously now receiving a lot of love, a lot of attention. And yet we see more and more springing on clearly talent that, that is now interested in Manufacturing of diverse origin, it be gender or other types of diversity.

[00:04:24] How do you see that dimension, given all of your kind of years of experience in this topic, is it now coming into a different. Picture or would you say it's still for some time, it's going to be a very

[00:04:38] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:04:38] uneven, I, it's always been a traditionally, a male dominated area, but having said that, I think that more more women, obviously we're trying to get more women into STEM related, work, more women into a hands-on.

[00:04:54] Sort of labor, intensive work, I think but women have historically been in, in healthcare and retail and areas know we have a gendered, highly gendered area of division of labor in that way. I certainly, the first time I went to a. Factory and had open-toed shoes was, a lesson learned, that's not what we do.

[00:05:13] And so you learn that pretty quickly. My experience has been that particularly in small and medium sized firms that we see a lot of women taking over from their fathers right now, a lot of women kind of successor CEOs to companies that were started a generation ago. And I think the whole maker movement more broadly is a sort of a step towards saying, we need to be working with our hands.

[00:05:37] It's not just about and we need, and it's also mines of course, Manufacturing now is so much around technology and digitalization. And so it's, I think it's moving into a space in which it's becoming more welcoming, more open to women and And I think that the next generation is going to be even more, more open to

[00:05:56] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:05:56] it.

[00:05:57] You mentioned the maker movement. Can you define that a little bit for us? For people in Manufacturing, obviously this is a trend and it's not a mystery to anyone, but w how did this start and what exactly does it entail to be a maker in the sense?

[00:06:08]Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:06:08] I think technically the maker movement might have roots back to MIT.

[00:06:13] And to some of the early fab lab developments, which is the idea of building these kinds of portable small fabricating labs that people could have easy access to and find tools and make things by themselves that didn't require large scale and large equipment in the end. I think that there have been, they should really serve two purposes on one hand there's, there's a goal to be very utility driven, how to help.

[00:06:38] How to help entrepreneurs access that kind of capability. But I think the real long-term value of the whole maker movement is really around yeah. Education. It's been an effort and I think we've seen it in community after community. Let's put them, let's put a fab lab, let's have a a Makerspace that kids can access at school that libraries are holding that that we can start to rebuild.

[00:07:02]A sense of capabilities for working with our hands and building things. Because I think as we know in the U S vocational schools have been, had been defunded for awhile shop had been, Maybe ended. And so we've really had to rebuild that interest in that capability in the country.

[00:07:18] I

[00:07:19] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:07:19] wanted to bring it even more into MIT because I know that, the motto obviously is mind on hand going working together. But also to, to bring it into this project, only work or the future. First of all my mind and hand, how does that tie into work or the future?

[00:07:35] And then maybe line up a little bit why MIT took this initiative because many organizations now are working on work or the future is become a very hot topic. Why in particular, did MIT feel like. This was the time.

[00:07:49]Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:07:49] This was an initiative launched by president rife in the spring of 2018. And if you go back to that time of just a few years ago, I think there, the Zeit Geist was the robots are coming.

[00:07:59] They're going to take our jobs. There's nothing we can do about it. It's just. Pre-ordained and I remember the super bowl commercials of 2019, almost every one of those commercials had a robot in it. There was somehow the robot was going to come take your beer or do whatever it was going to do during those commercials.

[00:08:15] So at the time I think that there was this real fear fed in part also by the media that That technology was on this March and artificial intelligence and robotics were really going to traumatically turn things around. And MIT is, one of the leading institutions for technology development, obviously.

[00:08:34]There was this question to president rife. Okay. You guys are inventing the robots. What are you doing about the implication of those robots? And I think he took that seriously. And I think that the fact is that MIT both is involved in the development, on the technology side, but also has a lot of people in the social science side.

[00:08:51] Particularly in economics, thinking about what are the implications of technology for work. And so this task force was launched. It is one of the few times MIT has put together a an effort that's across all five schools, 20 plus faculty representing every discipline from the computer scientists to the anthropologist trying to look from a sort of a three 60 lens on what does it what's happening in terms of technology and the changing nature of work.

[00:09:16] How do we shape that technology? Because as MIT sort of feels yes, we do shape that. We know that has a lot of factors that come into play. And how can we do that to shape and support workers? And then finally, what do our institutions, how do our institutions need to change so that the technology is really benefiting everyone and leading towards shared prosperity.

[00:09:35] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:09:35] And without claiming that you've finished a project, I know you have issued a lot of earlier reports. What are you starting to, what are you finding in this project?

[00:09:45]Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:09:45] We've, we have done a tremendous amount of research and I think in many ways, laid out what we think the problem is. And we've done that with final report that came out just a few months ago and then 20 plus briefs on each aspect of this.

[00:09:58]But what we've we came across three main high-level findings that I think are are relevant. The first is to say that yes, technology absolutely eliminates work, but we can't forget that it also creates work. And so our challenge going forward will not be the end of work. A lot of people was thinking, we're going to need a universal, basic income.

[00:10:16] We're not going to have enough jobs. In fact, what we know is over time, technology has been, automating jobs and introducing new types of work over decades. And in that period of time, we've actually had an increase. In our labor market participation rates in our in the employment to population ratios.

[00:10:32] And so that's not the challenge. The challenge, I think, will be the quality of that work. And that's what we need to focus on. And of course I say this, we did our research pre COVID, but what we felt is that COVID just essentially made this work more important, not less important. And what we've seen is of course COVID has exposed an exacerbated, some of the show, the problems with our labor markets and with our.

[00:10:53]And with the ways in which technology I think has been in employed or deploy, the second point we would make is that this is that even with a lot of productivity gains over the last several decades, those gains have not been shared broadly. If you're an average worker, the average compensation of all workers, including four year degree holders has started tracking productivity growth pretty well.

[00:11:16] But if we looked at the median worker, which is about 60% of American workers, Who have a, less than a four year degree, we had largely stagnant wages and we've had this great divergence since the 1970s. And it's, technology has played a role in that. No question globalization has played a role in that, but the fact is that other countries have faced those pressures and they have had better outcomes for workers.

[00:11:37] So it really points to policies and institutions and choices people have made about You know about how we support work and how we support workers through a transition like we're going through now. Yeah.

[00:11:48]Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:11:48] I was just thinking very specifically that you said robotics was a big kind of maybe the impetus for the report, but there are other.

[00:11:56] Concepts that are wider. Of course, with robotics, that's the core, industry 4.0 overall, as like a term for this thing, that's supposedly kind of Washington over, over our employment sector and certainly, coming into Manufacturing. What did you find about this phenomenon specifically?

[00:12:17] Were there other things than robotics that turned out to be important and or is it maybe not. Just about the technology. What are some of the findings you have on that? And. So to

[00:12:28] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:12:28] do this research, we went into a lot of companies and we looked across many industries. So we looked at healthcare. We looked at mobility, retail but we looked at Manufacturing in particular.

[00:12:39] I think that, MIT has done a lot of research on this. We in the late eighties had a effort called, made in America, which at the time the challenge was us. Productivity relative to frets from Japan. Then we moved into challenges, what's the relationship between manufacturing and innovation and some other work.

[00:12:54]Now we have to ask ourselves what, how has Manufacturing changing in these new, in this new paradigm? And what does it mean for workers and what we saw as of course, industry 4.0 is a very broad term. It means a lot of things to a lot of people and it's not it's not a. Established paradigm.

[00:13:09] I think it means, I think it does mean, greater conductivity. It certainly means generating more data and, data is the new oil and all of these things, predictive capabilities. But what we found interestingly was not that industry 4.01 had been adopted. Across the board and in firms, but then it was being still a little bit experimented with pilots in particular areas of firms, particular types of production capabilities, and then piloted success.

[00:13:37] Let's move it to a different facility. But what's interesting is we felt that when we saw Manufacturing and how this technology is being used, it was really about trying to identify pain points. Across different facilities, you identify the pain point. How can technology help us? What can we do with more more data, more sensors that are telling us what's going on?

[00:13:57] So it's been, I think it's a tremendous amount of opportunity there firms are moving that way, but I guess I'd say it's not there's many different paths to the industry. 4.0 vision. And it's not one single. A model that has been, easily adopted or clearly adopted by firms.

[00:14:16] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:14:16] It was the biggest surprise for you in that research because surely you must have expected some of it, but you also, as a team perhaps had these hypotheses about what you were going to find, what were some of the biggest surprises.

[00:14:30] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:14:30] I guess I would say that I was surprised and maybe others would not have been so surprised by it, but we have so much advance technology in manufacturing. There's just a tremendous amount going on across various types of of data-driven areas and. What I was surprised by was not having seen not seeing as much adoption as I thought and where we did see it, the challenges for organizations in doing this, we often the conversation around Manufacturing is about technology adoption and then skills.

[00:15:03] And how do we. We need to change skills for this. I don't think we necessarily talk enough about what has to happen at the organizational level. When you're talking about revamping and rethinking your production system around data-driven, decision-making, it's an organizational change.

[00:15:18] It's a cultural change. It's not just about these machines over in this cell. And so what we heard from a lot of a lot of people was. The technologies is the least important of the transformation. The transformation requires social cognitive cultural changes around, around the technology.

[00:15:36]Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:15:36] And how did that translate at MIT? You said it was a multidisciplinary project, so there were people on this project already that recovering that angle, or that you have to bring in people for that effort.

[00:15:46]Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:15:46] It's interesting. We are about to go back and look more deeply at why the other finding, I will say the other findings that we've expected to see more robots than we found, particularly in small and medium size firms.

[00:15:58]Why weren't they all adopting a lot of robots and there's a lot of barriers to adoption and a lot of inflexibility with some of that technology. The cost of the adoption, which isn't is really about the integration, less so about the technology itself. But we're about to go back in and we're thinking about bringing an ethnographer and because there is a lot going on between the decision to adopt technology and how it is used and how it is embraced by workers by managers.

[00:16:27]You're by an organization as a whole. And so one of the, I think one of the ways that we think The Manufacturing has to rethink this technology is that it's very easy, obviously for a whole host of reasons. A lot of companies are driven by ROI and they have a certain time period before they have to get a return on these investments.

[00:16:47] It's, it's pretty simple to calculate ROI when you replace a worker with a robot you're, right to your bottom line, it's less It's less obvious how you calculate the ROI on a collaborative robot, but something that's assisting and augmenting a worker in the process. And so that's the kind of thing we're trying to capture.

[00:17:07]What does it mean to bring in augmentation? What does it mean to. Transform a system and of course look for ROI, but that might be something that takes a longer period of time for companies to really reap the benefits of

[00:17:20] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:17:20] augmentation is a fascinating concept, right?

[00:17:23] Because it goes beyond robotics, as you say, and, cobots have become a term because we realized we need to work with these robots, but more than that, we need to work with all the technologies in the workplace. What were some of the. Conclusions you had on in terms of, I know one of the things you discussed in the report was institutional frameworks also need to change.

[00:17:44] It's not just about. Individual relationships or maybe upskilling of the individuals in the, on the shop floor or in the manufacturing sector, what are some of the institutional arrangements that that you found are there are changing in other countries or that have to, that have to change here in the U S

[00:18:03] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:18:03] well, of course the one that everyone points to is what we're doing about education and training and that we need to innovate and invest in skills.

[00:18:11] And what I think that we found that the Manufacturing manufacturers that we spoke to was that in fact, it wasn't that we needed a wholesale new set of workers that people just didn't have the skills we needed. We need this. Whole new set of skills. It's actually that they need people to develop different skills, not necessarily more difficult skills, but different skills.

[00:18:29] And that those can be learned that can be learned on the job. We now have new types of online education that are really. I think, really changing the way that firms can actually bring education and training to their workers. So that's, that was one dimension. I think we also are in a world in which we know that work-based learning is critically important for workers.

[00:18:50] And so finding a way that people haven't experienced. And bring that into the classroom. The German model right now is moving much more toward an integration of a vocational education. So getting that, hands-on learning with the sort of theory, if you will, that you get from a four year degree. I think in the U S one of our biggest challenges is making sure that people are moving from high school.

[00:19:09]Into a more skilled work and a training that is provided in partnership, perhaps with community colleges and firms, because what happens is when we lose people at high school, it's really very hard to get them back on a career path. And so to me, the real opportunity is for us to think about people from high school to essentially the post-secondary or two-year degree in between that space and how we can provide.

[00:19:33] Institutional support for pathways to the middle, which Manufacturing really

[00:19:37] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:19:37] offers well, you might be a good person to answer this question. It boggles the mind a little bit. That Manufacturing is still by many largely and maybe speak for young people. Generally not seen as the place to go.

[00:19:51] And I'm not certain that these patterns are going to remain the same, you have seen these trends over a period of time. Given how much you have looked into all of the exciting opportunities inside of the manufacturing industry. Isn't it little bit surprising that there still is this challenge of losing people at, in high school.

[00:20:11] Like why isn't Manufacturing seen as a much more attractive place to be when there's robotics. There's software technologies. There's all kinds of investment and it's hardware. It's you're actually doing things. You can see the results are so many things Manufacturing has going for it.

[00:20:29] Why does it take so. Long, for this image to turn around. When in fact there seems to be quite a lot of opportunity in the sector.

[00:20:38] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:20:38] So I think there are a couple of things. So the first is historically, if you were to look at what's happened to Manufacturing, what happened to communities and individuals in manufacturing in the U S you would also question whether your child should go into it.

[00:20:50] We had a DM industrialization in this country that lasted for decades, and that affected people across generations. So communities that were decimated by the loss of Manufacturing offshore, the fact that would have then ripple effects. And so a lot of communities, as we know that have been, struggling to rebuild over time.

[00:21:08] And I think we just didn't have the guard rails up at that time for for helping people, get out of that and Tran figure out how to respond to that sort of crisis. In the country. Another factor I think is the fact that we have been in many decades, we've really prize the four-year degree.

[00:21:26] And that has been obviously returns to four year degrees have been and continue to be the strongest for workers. But the four-year degree is not for everyone. 40% of those who start a four year degree in the U S. Do not finish within six years, that's an enormous amount of waste and an enormous amount of time.

[00:21:45] And so I think that's also where a lot of people said Manufacturing, isn't going to, that doesn't provide that. Long-term. Career. And also the fact is that you do need to provide people, have to provide career paths for our, for the young, for young people today, or for anybody who's joining a Manufacturing establishment.

[00:22:02] It's not enough to just stay in one place. We need to find these career

[00:22:05] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:22:05] paths. That was going to be my next question. So we talked a little bit about the organizational side, but if you were advising. Leaders in manufacturing today to forge this new path. So clearly sending your employees, on a four year track is really not an option.

[00:22:21]And you're saying even for young workers, four years maybe too long, it's basically about getting into the workplace and getting the experiences. But what's your advice to existing employers who may have these skills gaps. And they're obviously trying to catch up with. Industry 4.0 technologies.

[00:22:35] They're trying to, make the most out of a, right now with COVID a different, difficult situation, but strategically, how do you approach this productivity challenge and this worker shortage and these set of organizational issues, not just technology,

[00:22:50] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:22:50] right? It's a really good question.

[00:22:51] And I think that's right. I think on one hand we've had a lot of firms are having a lot of opportunity right now, COVID is. Presented shaking up supply chains and all sorts of things. On the other hand has been a very challenging time for a lot of firms. One of the interesting things that we found that perhaps it's not surprising to, to affirm.

[00:23:09]But I think from a policy point of view is perhaps interesting, which is. Until new technology is brought into a firm firms. Aren't really incented to invest in skills or in their workers. It's when you make that investment that you can then, think about let's upskill and let's get more productivity out of our workers.

[00:23:28] And this is not surprising if you were in Europe, which has much stronger. Labor laws and can concerns for workers. If you're paying a lot for your work, are you going to invest in them because you want higher productivity here in the States, there isn't that incentive? I think.

[00:23:41] And so I think the challenge is really how to make investments in this technology, because it really is transformational. It is going to increase productivity. It does provide new models of production that we, said. I think we haven't even tapped into what the possibilities are. But how are firms going to be able to do that?

[00:23:56]What's the kind of capital structure. What's the pull from customers. What's the push from from government, from policies, we're discussing right now in the U S how to rebuild our supply chains. How do we do that and make. And make the work, the incentives correctly for firms for firms that are going to make those investments.

[00:24:15] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:24:15] If we bypass the, the immediate policy context and look a little bit longer term, and you thinking about reflecting the work that you just did at MIT around the work of the future, but also going back to some of your earlier work on bio-manufacturing and, in, in the PI study that I know about earlier study at MIT, which is also was a pathbreaking study, what.

[00:24:37] Do you think are some of the implications of those studies in terms of what's going to truly happen in the next decade to this Manufacturing industry, barring some sort of enormously clear policy path in the U S or otherwise, what are the trends telling you? Where are we headed?

[00:24:53]Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:24:53] I think it's a very exciting decade and I actually had a senior executive in the automotive industry say that he thought the next decade was the going to be the most exciting decade in the history of the automotive industry, which is saying a lot.

[00:25:06]And I think that's right, we've just got Yeah we're talking to autonomous vehicles, we're talking electric vehicles as an as one example. So I think the trends, I think we will get we're going to get better and better connectivity and we're going to get greater and greater insight.

[00:25:19] And and we're going to drive toward customization in whether it's. Your drugs or whether it's your car, we're going to find ways that we can actually personalize that production system,

[00:25:31] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:25:31] two sectors that you would highlight the bio manufacturing side and the automotive are those, the two drivers.

[00:25:36] So the American and the global economy, or are there other sectors that are going emerge from your work again that you think. Have been somewhat overlooked as either boring or lagging sectors, but which sort of could come back with a vengeance and become an engine, a new engine of the economy.

[00:25:51] Are there other sectors?

[00:25:53]Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:25:53] I think we're seeing, I obviously I would speak broadly about biopharma and I would also speak about medical device. I think, given what's going on trends globally. That's an interesting. Certainly an interesting area. I think, what we're going to see is technology.

[00:26:06] That's working transversely across a lot of industries. So I think 3d printing, for example, will, we've got a lot of issues with costs, et cetera, but figuring out that and building sort of thinking about scale in that area or how we're going to build to scale is going to affect a lot of different, a lot of different areas.

[00:26:24]There's no doubt that the electronics industry is. Going to continue. And it's obviously based in Asia and we've recently got a lot of challenges with respect to semiconductor production right now. And so I think that's going to be on the horizon for a long time. But the other one that we have to talk about is also clean energy.

[00:26:44]That is one that I think every. Every country is going to be thinking about how do we build our capacity on clean energy production systems. And

[00:26:54] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:26:54] yeah. Do you see that as a new segment or do you see that as a continuation? Just with a very different spin on a higher emphasis inside of each kind of sector?

[00:27:04]Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:27:04] It's been, it's existed for decades, right? We've been making efforts to try and launch it in this country. And other countries have been very aggressive in that area. But I still think there's a lot of new sort of dimensions to bring into it. I think that we haven't we're still just figuring out what actually this looks like in terms of nuclear, for example, going forward and other areas.

[00:27:24]I think it's got a lot of room for growth, even though we may have dipped our toe in a number of different parts of clean energy. I think it's got a long way to. You go for growth.

[00:27:34] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:27:34] Last thing I just wanted to ask you a lot of the listeners will be interested in how to get involved at a deeper level to understand Manufacturing trends work with the future.

[00:27:45]It's one of the hardest topics on the internet to Google about. Where, an obvious source would be to read your reports that were just out from MIT self serving. I know, so that we have, huh? I think we can establish that. That seems to be a good source, but where else should people go? What are the sources of information on this emerging?

[00:28:05] Manufacturing and World of

[00:28:06] Elizabeth B. Reynolds, MIT: [00:28:06] work. There is a lot out there and I think that a number of the consultant firms are coming out, always have a lot of predictions on numbers and things like that, whether it's Kinsey or some of the others, I think the World Economic Forum has really tried to be a leader in this space.

[00:28:20] I think that's an interesting an interesting dimension. I would say this, that I feel like when people say, how can I be engaged in the work of the future? I think that every organization should be looking at itself and asking, How are we implementing the work of the future agenda in this organization, in this firm?

[00:28:36] What are we doing? With respect to technology skills job quality, and what is, what are the implications for workers put workers at the center of your questions and see what comes out of that kind of analysis. Because I think there's a real opportunity for thinking about how we are going to use technology.

[00:28:56] To bring benefits to everyone and and a change in our trajectory so that we see a pattern going forward that really benefits everyone. And doesn't necessarily see technology as something that, compliments some and substitutes others. And, there's a big divide.

[00:29:12] I'd like to see some opportunity to change that.

[00:29:15] Trond Arne Undheim, Host: [00:29:15] I think that's great advice. Thank you so much, Liz. It's been a pleasure and I think. People will do well consulting the work that has been going on. At MIT over the last few years. Thank you, John. It's a pleasure. You had just listened to episode seven of the Augmented podcast with hosts thrown onto Undheim.

[00:29:33] The topic was the work of the future. Our guest was Elizabeth Reynolds, executive director, MIT taskforce on the work of the future. In this conversation, we talked about why the work with the future is particularly relevant. Now, why did MIT take this initiative and what did the task force learn? Which specific instance.

[00:29:54] Traditional innovations are necessary. What will be the adoption curve for industry for Grinnell technologies? I asked her what the next decade will look like. And finally, we'll discuss how to stay up to date. My takeaway is that the work of the future has just begun. In fact, we are discovering how advanced automation doesn't necessarily mean that robots are taking over, or at least that as robots and software, or both together, move into the workforce and roll onto the cloud.

[00:30:24] Factory floor. There are so many jobs still for humans to do, which is reassuring, but the structural changes, the labor market will be profound and workers, organizations, and governments alike need to prepare now and be ready. Change is upon us. Thanks for listening. If you'd like to subscribe at Augmented or in your preferred podcast player and rate us with five stars.

[00:30:50] If you liked this episode, you might also like episode four towards a renaissance in  manufacturing or episode two on how to train Augmented workers Augmented the industry 4.0 podcast.


Elisabeth Reynolds Profile Photo

Elisabeth Reynolds

Executive Director, MIT Taskforce on the Work of the Future

Elisabeth Reynolds is a principal research scientist and executive director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center, as well as a lecturer in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP). Her research examines systems of innovation and economic development more broadly with a focus on advanced manufacturing, growing innovative companies to scale, and building innovation capacity in developed and developing countries. Prior to coming to MIT, Reynolds was the director of the City Advisory Practice at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a non-profit focused on job and business growth in urban areas. She has been actively engaged in efforts to rebuild manufacturing capabilities in the U.S., most recently as a member of the Massachusetts Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative. She is a graduate of Harvard College and holds a Master’s in Economics from the University of Montreal as well as a PhD from MIT DUSP.