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The History and Future of Work with futurist Marina Gorbis

Source | Youtube : re:Work with Google

Published on 21 Oct 2014

Marina Gorbis, Executive Director of the Institute for the Future, shared a brief look at how labor has evolved throughout humanity’s brief working life. Historically, we haven’t worked in centralized organizations for very long – early work was primarily transactional, agricultural, and substantial. The industrial revolution brought about a shift in work, scaling up production and productivity by consolidating and integrating processes and people. The rise of “the firm” allowed for the aggregation and reduction of transaction costs, allowing unprecedented scale and profit. The organization itself is a type of technology, amortizing costs in ways the individual could not. But today, through the advent of open platforms and widely accessible technology, that technological advantage is being disrupted. Transaction costs for the individual are shrinking, which allows more people to make a profit working outside of large organizations. Gorbis’ research reveals four new kinds of workers:

1) Microworkers are task-oriented and available according to their own schedules, working when, where, and how they want using open platforms to find jobs.
2) Amplified Entrepreneurs use open platforms to manage people (often microworkers) across a variety of disciplines and geographies, making it possible for one person to achieve scale.
3) Dream Builders segment their lives between work and play, separating making money from finding meaning. They may have a traditional job to pay the bills, but they put their passion into their personal pursuits outside the office.
4) Culture Hackers redefine what work is and where it happens by mixing office and home spaces, meaning and money, and blurring so-called “work-life balance”. They pursue life, learning, leisure, and labor all together.

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