And that might not feel fine.
It was the year 2000. Motorola had just introduced one of the world’s first touchscreen mobile phones; the closest thing to an on-demand delivery service was Kozmo.com; and AOL Instant Messenger was one of the few ways to instantly communicate with anyone.
Fast-forward to 2016. We’re strapping our phones to our heads to transport ourselves into video games and far-flung places thousands of miles away; everything from our transportation to our food to our entertainment is on-demand; and messaging apps like Slack completely blur the lines between home and office.
There’s no question that the way we live and work has changed drastically over the past 16 years and as we near the end of the decade those changes are going to be more wrenching than ever.
And by wrenching we mean really hard for both employees and employers, as well as government officials, all of whom have to navigate the ways the workplace is changing as it is hit hard by technological changes that will have both intended and unintended consequences.
Take transportation, for example. In 2009, Uber and Lyft turned the traditional labor model on its head with a personal door-to-door car service operated by independent contractors. Today, Uber and Lyft drivers operate much like shuttle or bus drivers would, picking up as many as five passengers at a time along algorithmically determined routes. In 2020, the companies will turn labor on its head again as they begin to replace those drivers with autonomous cars.
The introduction of self-driving cars will also have vast implications for the way we live.
Consider how the combination of self-driving cars — which will allow passengers to reclaim the time they would typically use commuting or driving — and a messaging and collaboration platform like Slack could change how we think about where we live.
A primary consideration when looking for a place to live is the distance to public transportation and consequently how long it will take to get to work. If your car becomes a roving office, people can move farther away from city centers. Consequently, we won’t need parking spaces along roads because a self-driving Uber never really needs to stop moving.
All of a sudden we have more room for things like pedestrian walkways and parks. The structure of cities won’t be centered on making room for cars anymore; it will be centered on people.
This is all the result of just one single technological advancement.
But, imagine the way our lives will change as artificial intelligence progresses. Imagine how we could use virtual reality to collaborate with our co-workers remotely. Think about how many new roles and job opportunities we’ll begin to see as these technologies advance and how many of today’s jobs will become obsolete.
And the ultimate question: Could AI eventually create a jobless economy?
Those are just two topics impacting the fast-changing rules of work, and that’s why we’ve decided to discuss these new twists at one of our conferences: Code Enterprise, which is taking place on November 14 and 15 this year in San Francisco. It is all about how work is changing — for better or worse.
And commuting and AI are not all. The other issues we’ll cover include the debate over diversity, how sensors are changing how businesses operate, the way mobile phones have changed the workplace and even how what we eat on our lunch hour is shifting.
To do that, we’re going to be interviewing everyone from TaskRabbit CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Zenefits CEO David Sacks, Slack’s April Underwood and Noah Weiss and more.
Practically everything about how we work is changing. Join us as we talk to some of the people at the forefront of this key trend and find out why it’s the end of the workplace as we know it.