“How can we reconcile these sort of concerns that we all have around how quickly things are changing?”

So asked California’s Lieutenant Governor, Gavin Newsom, in a recent interview at Singularity University. Newsom sat down with CEO Rob Nail to discuss the future of work and wrestle with the various shifts occurring due to the rapid progress and transformative power of technology.

“We moved from a connected to a hyper-connected world, a merger of IT and globalization. This is radically changing everything,” stated Newsom, citing author Thomas Friedman. He continued, “It’s not 20- or 30-year trend lines; this stuff’s happening in real time. The concern is that curve’s just going to take off.” Pointing to the combinatorial nature of technology and the convergence of artificial intelligence, big data, genomics, and synthetic biology, Newsom made his concerns about the future and technological disruption clear.

“This figuratively keeps me up at night.”

So what will it take to solve the coming challenges in employment? According to the Lt. Governor, what’s needed is a new means of educating people to empower them in this evolving workforce.

“The only approximation of an answer that I hear from the experts, and instinctually, is you got to out-educate if you’re going to out-compete.” Newsom added, “The reality is that education then becomes even more profoundly important as jobs become more specialized…that requires an entrepreneurial mindset, this notion of self-motivation. It’s a different kind of education that people are going to need.”

Newsom made timely points on the role of government in the midst of this technological turbulence as he recently announced that he would be running for governor in 2018. Having been the two-term mayor of San Francisco, he’s aware of the the momentum of emerging technology having witnessed the growth of Silicon Valley in recent decades. But even with all the changes  and challenges that technology has brought to the world, Newsom remains an optimist.

“There’s not a problem that exists anywhere in the world that hasn’t been solved by somebody, somewhere.”

I've been writing for Singularity Hub since 2011 and have been Editor-in-Chief since 2014. My interests cover digital education, publishing, and media, but I'll always be a chemist at heart.

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