The New Reality for Customer Engagement
First of all, we are pretty certain to have a much richer user interface within the next few years as we deploy voice recognition, machine vision and perhaps haptic capabilities (touch and gesture recognition). If my admittedly unscientific observations are indicative, our children will quickly intermix these capabilities to create a highly personalized user interface that will be difficult, if not impossible, for others to understand. Judging from the typical teenage mobile phone conversation, which is already mostly incomprehensible, how will we know what they are actually doing, even as we watch them do it?
Second, with the kinds of multitasking skills our children exhibit, all work might come to be seen as "knowledge" work, and work structures might need to become much more flexible. This goes beyond the evolution of production lines into flexible manufacturing, perhaps requiring truly self-organizing systems. We will need a new set of technology and systems architectures to cope with the change.
Third, work may have to become more like play. Already, much of the leading edge of personal technology is occurring in the areas of games (especially multiplayer games) and entertainment.
Fourth, more work might get done at home or at some convenient "community" place that combines the workplace with other pastimes such as sports, hobbies, entertainment and so on. Such a shift would bring with it obvious security implications, but with highly personalized user interfaces, security and confidentiality would no doubt become less of an issue than they are now.
There are some clear pluses to a more adaptable work force. Flexible working and the management of variable resources become much easier. The assimilation of complex tasks, rapid reskilling and continuous performance management should also be easier. The work force will come from a generation that is used to competing against arbitrary performance models (the sociology of interactive games) that are nevertheless peer-group normalized (it's pretty clear among the players who is really good) and broadly accepted (everyone plays).
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