Our work on online freelancing has provided us with an interesting lens to think about jobs of the future. The demand for the kinds of work that can be done online seem to be changing at a rapid pace, and not in an easy-to-predict manner. The threat of automation is ever present. In that context, our Human Capital Research Team Leader (who is also deeply engaged with school reform in Sri Lanka) has been getting us to think about what all this should/could mean for general education. Thomas Friedman’s column on technology had added resonance in this context: Each time work gets outsourced or tasks get handed off to a machine, “we must reach up and learn a new skill or in some ways expand our capabilities as humans in order to fully realize our collaborative potential,” McGowan said.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was in Bangkok for the World Economic Forum. One of the questions she was asked was “what sectors she would look to promote first?” The summary of her answer was that the telecom sector is important as the need to have mobile phone for development is real and will look to support advancement in this field. She wants to target what she calls “low-hanging fruits” sectors to create jobs and bring Burmese migrant workers home. There is no doubt that telecom, especially voice and data communication over wireless platforms, is a low hanging fruit.