The Project

FutureWork – The transition to the 22nd century

Work design and job scenarios of tomorrow: Together with the IQIB – Institut für qualifizierende Innovationsforschung & -beratung (formerly European Academy of Technology and Innovation Assessment GmbH) (Ahrweiler),   ZAK | Centre for Cultural and General Studies (Karlsruhe) has started a future-oriented project with an extraordinary approach

Future work environments will be designed completely 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. In order to reveal possibilities and the range of the working life in the distant future, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the three-year project “FutureWork”. FutureWork is part of the federal research program “Zukunft der Arbeit” and is supported by a total funding amount of 620,000 Euro by the Ministry.

There is a lack of scientifically based long-term scenarios regarding the working life of the future. FutureWork aims at combining established sources of knowledge such as technology foresight and sociology of work with the analysis of science fiction literature in order to be able to foresee possible future work scenarios for the second half of the 21st century. An interdisciplinary team consisting of human factors and ergonomics scientists, sociologists, futurologists and science fiction experts will analyse past studies, predictions of the future and expert interviews in order to develop new scenarios. During the course of the project, first results will be discussed with social partners and scientists from other disciplines at an expert conference.

As part of public science the project FutureWork intends to include the public into the discourse from the beginning. Under the scientific convenorship of Prof. Dr. Caroline Y. Robertson-von Trotha a public conference, organized by the ZAK, will give creative and visionary people, artists and experts from science communication the opportunity to discuss the role of work in the upcoming decades.

The IQIB – Institut für qualifizierende Innovationsforschung & -beratung and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are responsible for the scientific implementation of the project with regard to content, methodology and coordination of the interdisciplinary perspective. Contact persons at the IQIB are PD Dr. Oliver Pfirrmann (oliver.pfirrmann∂ and Dr. Claudio Zettel (claudio.zettel∂

The project team intends to unite technological and speculative perspectives with a scientifically justified view on possible future scenarios as well as to provoke discussions in research, economy and politics that support planning of a sustainable and desirable working life in the future.

Funding note: This project is supported by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) and supervised by the Projektträger Karlsruhe (PTKA)(funding no. “02L18A510/02L18A511”).

Project summary in German