Public conference on the future of work

Bannerfoto: jozefmicic /

Public conference on 17/18 September 2021

As part of the BMBF-funded FutureWork project, a public conference will focus on the future of work.

Work design and job scenarios of tomorrow will be designed fundamentally different from what we are used to as of now. New professions, occupations and so far unimaginable applications of technologies will be influencing the labor distribution and organization as well as the social microstructure profoundly. Long-term scenarios can already sharpen our view of the working life of the future. In the BMBF-funded project FutureWork, the view is ventured to the beginning of the next century. With the help of scientific, literary and artistic resources from work and futurology as well as science fiction, scenarios are being developed that describe future working worlds. With these scenarios, the project wants to initiate a public discussion process in science, society, economy and politics about the role of work, which supports a reflected planning of our future working world.

In the sense of public science, it is an important concern of the research project to involve society in the discourse on this. For example, science fiction authors were invited to submit short stories in order to share their thoughts on work opportunities with the public in the form of fictional stories. The short story collection “Future Work. Die Arbeit von übermorgen. 15 Kurzgeschichten aus der Zukunft” was published by KIT Scientific Publishing in September 2021 and is available in stores everywhere.

With the cooperation of all project partners, the ZAK | The Centre for Cultural and General Studies and Studim Generale will organise a public conference in Karlsruhe, where the research results will be presented and discussed with an interested audience. Creatives, artists, visionaries and experts will initiate a public discussion process on the role of work in the coming decades.

The public conference “Work of the day after tomorrow – between science and fiction” on 17 and 18 September 2021 is currently being planned as an attendance event and will take place in cooperation with the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, which will also be the venue for the festive opening evening. Words of welcome from, among others, Prof. Dr. h.c. mult. Peter Weibel, artistic-scientific chairman of the ZKM, and a panel discussion will introduce the topic. The core content of the conference will be the following day at the IHK Karlsruhe, where questions such as these will be discussed in lectures, discussions and short readings: Is our work becoming increasingly automated? Which jobs will still exist, which will no longer exist, which will be created? Will there still be traditional gainful employment in the future or will models like the unconditional basic income replace it? Who will we work for (global corporations, state-owned, AI-supported planned economy, as solo self-employed in the gig economy)? Where will we work (new workspaces like outer space, deep sea or purely virtual worlds)? How will our economy evolve in the face of climate change, pandemics, automation? What education and skills will we need to keep up in the labour market of the future? How will the institutions involved in organising, managing or insuring work, such as the employment agency and social security institutions, evolve – will they still exist in their current form?

Participation is free of charge.

Registration for the face-to-face event is necessary and will be possible on this page from 1 September 2021.

Due to the current Corona situation, on-site attendance is only possible for limited numbers of people. Participation in the livestream of the event is also possible without registration. You will find the link to the livestream on this page a few days before the event.

Scientific chair of the public conference:

Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha
Founding Director of ZAK | The Centre for Cultural and General Studies and Studium Generale, KIT

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