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The Future of Work and Workers

A complete archive of our special collaboration with the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

What worries you most — and/or excites you most — about the future of work and workers? Put another way: What will be the most consequential changes in the world of work and workers, and what anxieties and possibilities will they produce?

With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University asked this of business and union leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists around the world. The project, in collaboration with Pacific Standard, is called “The Future of Work and Workers.”

Beginning on August 3, 2015, and continuing for several months, we published new columns each weekday. Now, we’ve collected them all here. The project continued into our November/December 2015 print issue, with original reported essays and features published alongside excerpts from the best and most thought-provoking work that appeared on first.

Letter From the Editor

The Future of Work: This Is Your Job in 20 Years

This special collection from the Future of Work and Workers series was published as a four-page spread in ourNovember/December 2015 print issue.

John Ahlquist: Risk Bearing and Risk Sharing

John Ahlquist is associate professor in the School of Global Policy & Strategy at the University of California–San Diego. He is co-author of In the Interest of Others along with numerous scholarly articles.

Evangelina Argueta: The Risks of Industrial Globalization

Evangelina Argueta is manufacturing-plants organizational project coordinator of the General Workers Central in Honduras.

Ragui Assaad: The Transformation of Work at the Heart of Middle East Unrest

Ragui Assaad is a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota.

Rob Atkinson: Technology, Please Move Faster

Rob Atkinson is president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation in Washington.

Diane E. Bailey: Human Brains Should Make Choices About Artificial Ones

Diane E. Bailey is the co-author with Paul M. Leonardi of Technology Choices: Why Occupations Differ in Their Embrace of New Technology, and is an associate professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas–Austin.

Dean Baker: Don’t Blame the Robots

Dean Baker is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Stephen R. Barley: How I Learned the Hard Way What Happened to Vocational Education

Stephen R. Barley is the Richard Weiland Professor of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University.

Janine Berg: Making Work Fair — Regulating Labor in the 21st Century

Janine Berg is a senior economist with the International Labour Organization in Geneva and recently published Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality: Building Just Societies in the 21st Century. The views expressed in this column are her own.

Michael Bernstein: Working for the Machine

Michael Bernstein is an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford University, where he co-directs the Human-Computer Interaction group and is a Robert N. Noyce Family Faculty Scholar. His research focuses on the design of crowdsourcing and social computing systems.

Jeff Bleich: Who Will Thrive, and Who Will Not

Jeff Bleich is a former United States ambassador to Australia, special counsel to President Obama, chair of the California State University Board of Trustees, and president of the State Bar of California. He serves on the U.S. Fulbright Scholarship Board as well as several other public and private boards. He is currently a partner at Munger, Tolles & Olson, specializing in international disputes and counseling U.S. companies on technology matters.

John Seely Brown: Navigating the Whitewater

John Seely Brown, researcher, author, and lecturer, was chief scientist at Xerox and director of its Palo Alto Research Center.

Sharan Burrow: The World Needs a New Business Model

Sharan Burrow is general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation.

Jennifer Chacón: Giving Voice to the Five Percent

Jennifer Chacón is a professor of law at the University of California–Irvine School of Law.

Herrick Chapman & Lizbeth Cohen: The Political Work Ahead

Herrick Chapman is an associate professor of history and French studies at New York University.

Dorothy Sue Cobble: Shorter Hours, Higher Pay

Dorothy Sue Cobble is Distinguished Professor of History and Labor Studies at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Scott Cook: Can Innovation Escape the Tyranny of the Hierarchy?

Scott Cook is the co-founder and chairman of the executive committee at Intuit.

Maggie Corser: Workplace Dystopias, and How to Respond

Maggie Corser is a community organizer on a two-year inquiry exploring the future of work for the Open Society Foundations, a New York-based human rights organization.

Jana Costas & Gideon Kunda: Worlds Apart

Jana Costas is professor in the faculty of business administration and economics at the European University Viadrina in Germany and is working on her ethnographic study “Cleaning Work: Life in the Corporate Underworld of Berlin.’’ Gideon Kunda is associate professor in the department of labor studies at Tel Aviv University and studies and works with migrant workers and asylum seekers in Israel.

Mark R. Cullen: Will Future Work Be Good for Our Health?

Mark R. Cullen is a professor of medicine at Stanford, and director of the Stanford Center for Population Health Sciences. He is trained as an internist and occupational physician; his lifelong research has been in the area of the health consequences of work.

Rosanne Currarino: Having Our Pie and Eating It Too

Rosanne Currarino is an associate professor of history at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Lydia DePillis: Making Service Work Pay

Lydia DePillis is a reporter for the Washington Post.

Dale Dougherty: Join the Maker Movement

Dale Dougherty is founder and executive chairman of Maker Media Inc., publisher of Make: magazine and the producer of Maker Faire.

Maria Echaveste: Three Ways to Protect the Middle Class

Maria Echaveste served as administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor and as White House deputy chief of staff in the Clinton Administration, and is a senior fellow at the Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at University of California–Berkeley’s School of Law.

Peter Evans: From Dystopia to Utopia?

Peter Evans is a professor emeritus in the department of sociology at the University of California–Berkeley and senior research fellow at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

Roger W. Ferguson Jr.: Two Tidal Waves, Headed Our Way

Roger W. Ferguson Jr. is president and chief executive officer of TIAA-CREF, the Fortune 100 financial services company, and the former vice chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve System.

Bill Fletcher Jr.: Re-Engaging the Beleaguered Worker

Bill Fletcher Jr. is the host of the Global African for Telesur-English, a Latin American-based telecommunications news network. He is an activist and writer on racial justice, labor, and global justice.

Anne Focke: Unpaid, in Spite of Their Value

Anne Focke is a freelancer who has worked part time, full time, on contract, and in organizations she founded, as an editor, writer, researcher, non-profit executive, organizer, and artist.

Martin Ford: What If There Isn’t One?

Martin Ford is the author of two books about the potential impact of advancing technology on the job market and economy: Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future (2015) and the Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future (2009).

Richard B. Freeman: Who Owns the Robot in Your Future Work Life?

Richard B. Freeman holds the Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University. He is currently serving as faculty co-director of the Labor and Worklife Program at the Harvard Law School, and is senior research fellow in labour markets at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance. He directs the National Bureau of Economic Research/Sloan Science Engineering Workforce Projects, and is co-director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities.

Eli Friedman: The Guest Worker — Use and Discard

Eli Friedman is assistant professor of international and comparative labor at Cornell University, and the author of Insurgency Trap: Labor Politics in Postsocialist China.

Mary E. Gallagher: China’s Own Migrant Challenge

Mary E. Gallagher is an associate professor of political science and director of the Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan.

Mary L. Gray: Caring for the Crowdworker Going It Alone

Mary L. Gray is a senior researcher at Microsoft Research, associate professor of the Media School at Indiana University, and a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. She is writing a book, with computer scientist Siddharth Suri, on platform economies, digital labor, and the future of work.

Steven Greenhouse: Stagnation, Automation … Frustration

Steven Greenhouse is a former New York Times reporter who covered labor and workplace issues for 19 years. He is working on a book about the future of American workers and unions.

Ryan Harper: Manufacturing Is Now for the Robots; the Middle Class Needs More

Ryan Harper is a former Obama administration aide who recently graduated with a JD/MBA from Stanford University. He will work at a management consulting firm in Washington.

Silja Häusermann: Appeasing the Angry Manufacturing Worker

Silja Häusermann is a professor of political science at the University of Zurich.

Freeman A. Hrabowski III: Preparing Students for a Changing World of Work

Freeman A. Hrabowski III is president of the University of Maryland–Baltimore County.

Louis Hyman: The Second Industrious Revolution

Louis Hyman is an economic historian and an associate professor at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations.

John Irons: Creative Destruction and the New World of Work

John Irons is the managing director of global markets at the Rockefeller Foundation. Alyson Wise is a senior associate at the foundation.

Katherine Isbister: Designing Technology That Makes Us Feel Better at Work

Katherine Isbister is a professor of computational media at the University of California–Santa Cruz. She previously directed the Game Innovation Lab at New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering.

Natasha Iskander: 19th-Century Brutality, in the 21st Century

Natasha Iskander is an associate professor at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service.

Neil Jacobstein: Managing the Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence

Neil Jacobstein is co-chair of artificial intelligence and robotics at Singularity University and distinguished visiting scholar in the mediaX Program at Stanford University.

Yi-huah Jiang: What Politicians Should Know

Yi-huah Jiang is a former premier of the Republic of China, Taiwan. He is a research fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Kevin R. Johnson: We Need to Protect Immigrant Workers

Kevin R. Johnson is dean of the University of California–Davis School of Law and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies.

Katherine R. Jollock: A Living Wage and Freedom for Today’s Slaves

Katherine R. Jolluck is senior lecturer in history at Stanford University.

Travis Kalanick: Independence and Flexibility

Travis Kalanick is CEO and co-founder of Uber.

Jerry Kaplan: A Proposal for the Age of Automation — Turn Workers Into Investors

Jerry Kaplan is a fellow at the Center for Legal Informatics at Stanford University and teaches ethics and impact of artificial intelligence in the Computer Science Department. His latest book is Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence.

Amita Katragadda: Innovate in India

Amita Katragadda is a practicing attorney in India and a former partner at Amarchand Mangaldas, India’s largest law firm. She has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Thomas A. Kochan: A Call to Collective Action

Thomas A. Kochan is a professor of work and employment research at the MIT Sloan School of Management and co-director of the Institute for Work and Employment Research. His forthcoming book is Shaping the Future of Work.

Mike Konczal: The (Excessive) Power of Finance

Mike Konczal is a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, a non-profit organization in New York devoted to carrying forward the legacy and values of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Jaron Lanier: Stop the Stealing and Pay Us for Our Online Data

Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist and pioneer in the field of virtual reality, a composer, and the author of many works including Who Owns the Future?’ This is a condensation of an interview for the “Future of Work and Workers” project.

Margaret Levi: A Future Like the Past

Margaret Levi is the director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and professor of political science at Stanford University. Her most recent books are In the Interest of Others, co-authored with John Ahlquist, and the multi-authored Labor Standards in International Supply Chains.

Frank Levy: The Three Dimensions of Artificial Intelligence

Frank Levy is Daniel Rose professor emeritus at MIT and a research associate in Harvard Medical School’s Department of Health Care Policy. From 2012 through 2015, he was co-organizer of MIT’s CSAIL/Economics Seminar series to bring computer scientists and economists together, the source of some of the ideas in this piece.

Karen Levy: What Isn’t Counted Counts

Karen Levy is a postdoctoral fellow at New York University School of Law and the Data and Society Research Institute.

Josh Lewis: To Help Workers, Fix Our Community Colleges

Josh Lewis is the founder of Salmon River Capital. He engages with the education sector as an investor, board member, philanthropist, and parent.

Nichola J. Lowe: Encouraging Employers to Train Workers

Nichola J. Lowe conducts research on economic and workforce development and is associate professor of city and regional planning at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.

John Markoff: With Us, or Against Us?

John Markoff writes about computing, robotics, and artificial intelligence for the Science section of the New York Times.

Ann Markusen: Exploring the Quality of Work

Ann Markusen is the director of the Project on Regional and Industrial Economics at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, and principal of Markusen Economic Research.

Harold Meyerson: Stemming the Rise of Bad Jobs

Harold Meyerson is editor at large of the American Prospect and an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post.

Ruth Milkman: The Forces Against Organized Labor

Ruth Milkman is a distinguished professor of sociology at the CUNY Graduate Center and research director of CUNY’s Murphy Labor Institute.

Bethany Moreton: The Rise and Fall of the Job

Bethany Moreton is a professor of history at Dartmouth College and a founder of Freedom University for undocumented students banned from Georgia’s public campuses.

Jacob Morgan: Re-Defining the Workplace

Jacob Morgan is the author of the Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization, speaker, and the co-founder of the FOW Community, a council on the future of work at which companies, including the three in this column, pay to be members.

Gina Neff: Empowering the Data-Driven Worker

Gina Neff is an associate professor of communication and a senior data science fellow at the eScience Institute at the University of Washington. She is an advisor to Data & Society and the author of Venture Labor: Work and the Burden of Risk in Innovative Industries.

Nils J. Nilsson: Automation’s Effect on Jobs — This Time Is Different

Nils J. Nilsson is the Kumagai Professor of Engineering, Emeritus in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford University.

Margaret O’Mara: The Technology Industry Is Changing the Rules

Margaret O’Mara teaches American history at the University of Washington and is writing a book about the politics and culture of Silicon Valley.

Roberto Pires: The Trouble With Shrinking Governments Worldwide

Roberto Pires is a researcher at the Institute for Applied Economic Research in Brasília, Brazil.

Frances Fox Piven: Why Wage Work Can’t Solve the Poverty Problem

Frances Fox Piven is a professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Charles Postel: The Coming Political Storms

Charles Postel is the author of the Populist Vision,’ which won the Bancroft Prize, and he teaches history at San Francisco State University.

Alex Rosenblat: For Uber Drivers, Data Is the Boss

Alex Rosenblat is a researcher and technical writer at Data & Society, a New York organization focused on social, cultural, and ethical issues arising from data-centric technological development.

Douglas Rushkoff: Rebooting Work — Programming the Economy for People

Douglas Rushkoff is professor of media theory and digital economics at Queens/CUNY, and the author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity.

Paul Saffo: We Have Been Here Before

Paul Saffo teaches forecasting at Stanford University and chairs the Future Studies and Forecasting track at Singularity University.

Nathan Schneider: Owning What We Share

Nathan Schneider writes about technology and the economy for publications includingVice, the New Republic, and the Nation. He is co-organizer of “Platform Cooperativism: The Internet, Ownership, Democracy,” a convergence at the New School on November 13–14.

Trebor Scholz: The People’s Uber

Trebor Scholz is an associate professor at the New School in New York and co-convener of Platform Cooperativism: The Internet, Ownership, Democracy.

Juliet B. Schor: Consider the Changing Climate

Juliet B. Schor is a professor of sociology at Boston College and the author of Plenitude, which is her vision of a short-hours, ecologically sustainable high-satisfaction economy.

Andrew Schrank: A Nightmare Scenario — and Three Things That Might Prevent It

Andrew Schrank is the Olive Watson Professor of Sociology and International Studies at Brown University.

J. Robert Schull: Which Seeds We Plant

J. Robert Shull leads the Workers’ Rights Program of the Public Welfare Foundation, based in Washington, D.C.

Gary Segura: Can Minority Americans Shift the Labor Debate to the Left?

Gary Segura is a professor of American politics at Stanford University and co-founder and principal of the polling and research firm Latino Decisions.

Calvin Sims: Addressing the Global Crisis of Youth Unemployment

Calvin Sims, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Ford Foundation executive, is president of International House, which seeks to foster international understanding by empowering the next generation of globally minded leaders.

Edward Skidelsky: In Defense of Less Work and More Leisure

Edward Skidelsky is a lecturer in philosophy at Exeter University. He is the author, with Robert Skidelsky, of How Much Is Enough? Money and the Good Life.

Mario L. Small: The Water Cooler and the Fridge

Mario L. Small, the Grafstein Family Professor at Harvard University, is writing a book on networks and social support.

Robert Solow: Why Wages Aren’t Keeping Up

Robert Solow, an emeritus professor of economics at MIT, won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1987 and in 2014 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He is the Robert K. Merton Scholar of the Russell Sage Foundation.

Sebastian Thrun: Machines Pulling Ahead, Quickly

Sebastian Thrun is an educator, programmer, robotics developer, and computer scientist. He led the development of Google’s self-driving car. He has also worked to use artificial intelligence in automated homes, health care, drones, and other applications. He is chief executive and co-founder of Udacity, which offers online courses for students and professionals.

Julia Ticona: The Digital Hustle

Julia Ticona is a dissertation fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, and a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Virginia.

Richard L. Trumka & Craig Becker: Labor Law Must Catch Up

Richard L. Trumka is president of the AFL-CIO. Craig Becker is general counsel.

Moshe Y. Vardi: But What Will Humans Do?

Moshe Y. Vardi is the George Professor in Computational Engineering at Rice University.

Judy Wajcman: Working With Constant Connectivity

Judy Wajcman teaches sociology at the London School of Economics and recently published Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism.

D.A. Wallach: In a World Full of Information, Many Gaps

D.A. Wallach is a recording artist and investor based in Los Angeles, California.

Mark R. Warner: Challenges — and Opportunities — for Washington

Mark R. Warner is the senior United States senator from Virginia.

Kent Wong: Organize the Immigrant Workers

Kent Wong is director of the University of California–Los Angeles Labor Center and founding president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, AFL-CIO. His latest publication is Dreams Deported-Immigrant Youth and Families Resist Deportation.

Frances Zlotnick: Uniting Workers in the Gigging Economy

Frances Zlotnick is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at Stanford University, and a former contractor in the technology sector.