FutureWork Audience Q&A





Additional Speaker Questions and Answers

Over the course of the first day of the 2016 Emerging Issues Forum, FutureWork, we fielded hundreds of questions from our live audience, as well as from our digital audience. The latter submitted questions via our digital app or via Twitter (using #IEIFutureWork) — too many to get to in one day! We asked our kind speakers and panelists to contribute their time and expertise by answering a handful of these questions; we’ve included the ones they could get to on the page below. We’ll be featuring some of these on our Twitter, @emergingissues, using #IEIFutureWork.

Martin Ford
Martin Ford copy
New York Times Bestselling Author of
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

Q: Politically, there just isn’t much support in the US for a guaranteed minimum income. What would it take for this to get serious consideration?

Ford: It would take some sort of crisis before we take it seriously, but it would have to happen in other countries first.

Q: How are these future changes impacting leadership of organizations?

Ford: Well, potentially a lot of mid level jobs will be automated, thus flattening organizations and management in corporations.

Q: How will IT and autonomous technologies affect education and the profession of teaching in general? Do you foresee there being an issue with automation and the future of work in education?

Ford: We already see MOOCs and robotic software tutorials that can work with students, so it is already happening in the education sector.

Q: Is there a potential conflict between a guaranteed income and incentives for education?

Ford: What I suggest is that we can build incentives into graduation. When you graduate, you might get a slightly higher income.

Q: Many of our students still select degrees that by the time they graduate may or may not be viable. How do you think we begin to expose our students to careers/degrees that will be relevant when they graduate in a time that technology is growing so fast?

Ford: The most important thing is to learn how to learn to continue to adapt. The future is too unpredictable.

Walden Mike Walden
 William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor, Economics
NC State University


Q: I get the need to be a two-handed economist. But what is your best guess about the likely magnitude of impact of technology on employment? Are we in a qualitatively new era compared to the impacts of the past?

Walden: Half of the occupations in NC that we have now could be gone by the mid-century.

Q: How would you say the displacement of jobs due to technology will compare to the displacement of jobs in relation to outsourcing jobs?

Walden: It will be much bigger, outsourcing mainly affects manufacturing, but this technology unemployment will affect much more.

Q: What is the effect on tourism industry with more time and less money?

Walden: More of our tourism is going to come from foreign tourism.

Q: How will this impact college curriculums and [the] number of professors that will be needed in the next ten years?

Walden: Technology is probably going to replace teachers. The big challenge for higher education is being nimble and flexible in moving resources around.

Dambisa MoyoDambisa Moyo

International Economist, Author and Futurist

Q: Can you explain further about how today’s young people are worse off educationally than their parents? More educational resources are available now than ever before.

Moyo: Study was conducted by the OECD, and it is about the education levels and testing on math, science and readings.

Q: What needs to happen to truly get corporate America focused on the larger negative impacts of technology on their workers and customers?

Moyo: There needs to be a blurring of lines of public, private and NGO sectors.

Q: Corporations have been giving lip service to social responsibility for over two decades. Why do you think that companies have not gotten serious about the negative impacts of technology on wages and purchasing power?

Moyo: Mainly because companies are struggling to employ people and that is the manifestation of why education is not their problem.

Q: You mentioned that the U.S. has fallen significantly behind in terms of its skills among younger generations, and that these skills are measured and tested when children are still quite young – about 9 years old. So, how do we improve our children’s skills before they enter the workforce? When do we start introducing and educating them on various skillsets if they are already behind by third grade? Lastly, what is your opinion on the investment of early childhood education?

Moyo: Evidence shows that kids’ education (even in kindergarten) predicts their long term success, and it is hard to course correct. There is a greater need to emphasize primary education. That starts at the home and within the community environment.

Q: At what point do you think technology is an agent of augmentation to a current job rather than one that takes over that job completely?

Moyo: There is not one point in which that occurs. It shows how a job may evolve in a digital age. This is not a zero sum issue.

Q: How do you define “welfare payments” in discussing the 25-50-90 model? How does this analysis account for US and EU foreign aid and NGO aid?

Moyo: The welfare payments are defined by the Chancellor of Germany and her estimates include transfers made for healthcare, Medicaid and Medicare and transfers on income during joblessness.

Q: Do you think a well-rounded education will disappear in the future in the face of more specialized education?

Moyo: I hope not. In fact, if anything, there will be more demand for people to be versatile in a digital world.

Devin Fidler Devin Fidler
 Research Director
Institute for the Future


Q: These apps seem to find more freelance work for those with jobs and resources. What about finding people with limited work history?

Fidler: Many freelancers on platforms are people in between jobs. Also there are people who are working just on how to use these apps to employ people without jobs. Even Uber or taskrabbit are often used as safety nets.

Kevin JohnsKevin Johns

Economic Development Director
Austin, Texas

Q: Austin has long had a significant Hispanic presence. What advice do you have for communities in North Carolina where the influx of Spanish-speakers is very new? How should they be thinking about the economic development opportunities these new arrivals offer?

Johns: Cultural diversity is an economic strength&emdash;that is important. The Hispanic Community help us with international trade, they know the language, people and problems. Respect can help us to create a foundation for local economics. We are launching a Shark Tank[-style] program for start-up Hispanic businesses; helps them to expand and grow their businesses.

Q: In redevelopment areas, how does Austin attract retail and office space where there are few residences? Can retail and office be successful if they are not preceded by multi family residential spaces?

Johns: We have set up a challenge to create merchant’s associations. If these are created, we give them free architectural resources, arts and music are brought in, we support permits and zoning, and we bring in bike paths to help with easier transportation. We help to create 3 new business associations a year. It is a merger of city planning and urban development.

Q: Since you have asked private industry to tutor kids out of poverty, do you think a well-funded public school education has a role in preventing and alleviating poverty and what are you doing about public K-12 education?

Johns: The companies can use the dollars to fund by proxy the schools. These outcomes are measured universally the economic viability of the sums.

Q: With whom could I talk with regarding activating the diaspora? I would like to learn more about how Austin did this, how you manage, know it’s working. Fascinating best practice we would like to steal, I mean, replicate. Thank you.

Johns: We fund the Black Asian and Hispanic Chambers of Commerce. Any of the executive directors of these organizations would be happy to show you how their diasporas are used.

 Paul Gage
FTCC iCar Program


Q: Would you ever speak at a high school? Specifically one in Sampson County? Or do you do tours for high school students?

Gage: I can be reached at gagep@faytechcc.edu.