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A quintessential SAIT experience leads to reflections on the future of work.
Waiting for an elevator in the marble-lined lobby of the Senator Burns Building can take a while. All around me, students and faculty are rushing to get to Business class or Tim Hortons; others quietly check their emails or chat with friends.
We’re dependent on the technology behind these busy elevators to get us where we’re going. An elevator arrives, eventually, and its machinery hoists each diverse carload to our respective destinations.
Elevator operator was once an occupation. Now, with the push of a button, technology does all the work — and that’s just one example of jobs disrupted by technological advances. Construction, manufacturing, transport, energy, business — today robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies are replacing workers in almost every sector.
As well, online connectivity means more people can work from home rather than an office. Social and technological change have never been as widespread, as fast or as complex as right now. There is concern over which jobs will disappear next, and debate about the skills workers need to stay relevant. What is the future of work?
That’s a question SAIT President and CEO Dr. David Ross put to a wide range of business and industry leaders recently, and it’s the theme for this issue of LINK. It’s a huge topic — one that inspires both optimism and anxiety. In researching our main feature story (page 14), writer Julie Sengl asked faculty, experts and leaders three questions about the future of work: what’s the worst that can happen, what’s the best that can happen and what’s most likely to happen.
I have pondered those questions myself, and I think what’s most likely is humans will continue to adapt. This issue of LINK includes stories of an alumna who identified a need, then created a business to meet it (page 46); an alumna who made her dream career a reality (page 28); and four people who prove artisanal skills remain relevant in a tech-driven world (page 24).
Text by Brian Bowman