Another approach ShiftLabs is taking is to identify and redirect workers toward professions that are less likely to be affected by automation. This includes jobs that have more of an emphasis on personal skills, communication, caregiving, empathy and creativity. Another area of growth right now is in technical jobs creating artificial intelligence, such as developers and programmers.
Already, cities are trying to adapt to the paradigm shift in the marketplace. In Indianapolis, car racing is a major industry because of the Indy 500. The racing industry is continually working to make cars faster, safer and more comfortable, said Martin.
“They are learning valuable lessons about making products and automating the production,” she said, adding that automation hasn’t meant fewer jobs, just different ones. Indianapolis is home to many experts who are enthusiastic about developing new technologies for car racing, but that knowledge is siloed. Engineers from IndyCar and those making automated cars don’t intersect, Shift explained, adding that making these kinds of connections is one of ShiftLabs’ aims.
“We want to bring together people who normally don’t talk to one another so they can have this conversation about how we get ready for the future. They don’t often have it together, so we are trying to create the network of people that are thinking about these things,” she said.
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— By Ellen Sheng, special to CNBC.com