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The Gooroo Blog

Accessing the new opportunities for work: IT’s a worry


Dr. Colin Benjamin OAM, FAICD, MAASW, an internationally-recognised Australian polymath and futurist, is the author of ColourGrid™. Based on 40 years of advanced neuroscience research, Gooroo ColourGrid™ helps us understand how we make up our minds. As the Scientific Advisor at Gooroo, Dr. Benjamin is working to integrate the ColourGrid™ toolkit into Gooroo technology.

While there is reason to be proud that Australia is likely to achieve the stated goal of a million new jobs since the election of the Abbott/Turnbull Governments, including more than 1100 jobs a month in the last year, there are still more than that number who are actively looking for work.

The future of work in Australia will continue to demonstrate a steady transformation from an agriculture, mining and manufacturing economy heavily reliant upon traditional industrial practices through the health and education services stage into a globally oriented experience and emergent technology environment.

Policy that addresses the future of work and workers in Australia must build on insights into the transitions and transformations that are associated with automation, globalisation and media imperatives. There will be a continued substitution of capital and intellectual capital for labour and manual processing arising from the combination of data sciences and machine learning

Community responses are readily identified in references to anxieties relating to Information Technology (IT) transitions to the future of work outlined in more than a hundred submissions to the Senate Committee on the Future of Work.

As Professor Greg Martin, head of UQ’s School of Social Science has pointed out: “We live in a time when slogans like ‘the best form of welfare is paid work’ roll too easily off the tongue, conveniently ignoring the fact that the labour market isn’t what it used to be.”

In this context it is important to distinguish between “artificial intelligence” (AI), “machine learning”, and robotics on the side of labour-capital substitution to gain efficiencies and productivity compared to “artificial consciousness” that enables and enhances human collaboration to facilitate innovation, creativity and entrepreneurism.

It is also important to examine the differences that make a difference in the mindspaces of those who are gaining job opportunities that require post-secondary and tertiary education and those that are highly vulnerable to digital disruption in the coming decades. There is a consistent gradient of response to technological change and choice.

There are highly significant differences in the mindspaces of those in employment and those looking for work that impact on attitudes to technological change, education and training.

It is immediately clear that there is a significant difference between those that are looking for work, and in particular those that are seeking part time work that are masked in generalised reporting of number of new jobs created in workforce reports and the numbers who are feeling left behind by the rate of technological change and global economic advancement.

Gooroo Ventures Submission (No 101) to the Senate Committee

In the Gooroo submission, evidence is presented that shows that it is not access to new opportunities to work but access to meaningful work and avoidance of the feeling of being left behind that is strongly related to reducing obesity and preventable chronic disease.

Since 2016, Gooroo has sponsored research and development into two streams of analysis that may be of value to the work of the Senate Committee that will report its findings in June 2018

(i) The potential of artificial intelligence (machine learning and data sciences) to facilitate a more and better match between the technological thinking associated with human resource development in an increasingly sophisticated technological environment.

(ii) The necessity to balance the “high touch” elements of human thinking with the “high tech” elements of most emerging jobs and positions in the future of work by improving the flow of ideas, imagination and insights associated with more and better matches of talent potential against aspirations, goals and objectives.

Findings from more than a quarter of a million household interviews conducted on a national probability sample across the nation indices that that responses to technological change are distributed on the basis of a normal curve with Technology Early Adopters (n= 9984 interview), Technophobes ( n =17,731 interviews) with the vast bulk of the community falling between these extremes (n= 52,920 interviews).

These findings relate directly to the relationship between the rate of change in levels of inequality occasioned by market failures in job creation, the level of economic growth, the role of government in promoting equality of outcomes and governance of income security and job placements.

Recommendations to the Senate Committee on Future of Work

  1. Gooroo Ventures and ‘Life Be in it.’ propose that the Senate Committee examine the mindspace distribution of new opportunties for work and explore the opportunities for improved matching of talent potential to career aspirations to ensure the future earnings, job security, employment status and working patterns maximise the prospects for productivity improvement, business solutions and greater self-organising capacity of those looking for work.

  2. Assist those looking for work: professional Vocational Counsellors and Career Advisors receive a brief post-professional training in the Gooroo ColourGrid™ to improve the prospects of matching available talent with the aspirations of small and medium enterprises that could expand employment of apprentices, trainees and interns under currently available funding from Commonwealth and State Government Jobs and Growth programs. This would enable greater attention to the impact of technological change, particularly in regional and remote communities with lower access to technological opportunities.

  3. Introduce a National JobStream on-line register of all vacancies that are lodged by employers seeking Australian workers who are ready, able and willing to take up such positions as part of a national JobsPlan that places particular attention on improving the match between the requirements of hirers and the education and training of talent. This would provide an immediate increase in access to jobs on the basis of a nationally accessible and consistent match of talent potential to the aspirations of both hirers and talent.

To learn more about Gooroo or Dr Colin Benjamin’s research, visit or send us an email: [email protected]

To read Gooroo’s submission to the Senate’s Inquiry into the Future of Work and Workers, please click here

Connect with Dr Colin Benjamin on LinkedIn here. Follow Gooroo on LinkedIn for more updates here.