The upcoming surge of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain and their application across a wide swath of industries will lead to profound changes in the marketplace for labor in coming years. There will be a shift in the skills required to be able to leverage the full productivity potential of new, smart technologies, with an increased emphasis on cross-disciplinary engineering and scientific skills and on the ability to adapt flexibly to a constantly shifting workplace environment that is staffed by both people and machines. The relationship between human labor and smart machine labor is set to be one of the defining issues of of the next decades.
The jargon is “T-shaped” graduates: the vertical line represents depth of expertise, while the horizontal is an ability to communicate across technological and cultural barriers to spur innovation, so-called “soft skills”. Mr Venhovens says these will become increasingly important, adding: “I cannot teach that from a textbook.”