The Future of Empowerment Today
What. Will the future of work look like this. Seemingly, age-old. Question, has, taken on increasing, importance, as, many leading experts, think, that most of our jobs will soon be, done by machines. That. If this is the case then, what would that mean for how humans, make their living and how. People, spend their time many. Future, thinking people have been asking these exact, questions. For. Years. The. Perfect, dog, perspex. Des Anna, wind rain know how trained a phone a filing cabinet no clutter, quiet. Cool. Very. Efficient, and. He'd never get out of this chair. That'll. Be nice their. Destructions. Just. Me and the work alone. And efficient. Certainly. Free to get a lot of work done with no human distractions. Much. Better than a human being tireless. And, efficient. Anything. I want it, brings, even. Company. Although. It looks funny to us now they, did get a few things right that. Video screen looks a bit like Skype, and scanning. And sending documents and images is something, we do with our printers and smartphones all the time what. I think they got wrong in this clip is, that there are no people, I believe, that the future is people, left and people. Empowered, by, a new kind of, the. Open University is, an institution, that's been breaking the mold for years by, allowing people to learn new skills in their own time anywhere. In the world so. We've put together a team of experts to try and do a better job of predicting the future we've, done this by talking to people already working in new and creative ways to, see if, we can pinpoint with, the future of work and society may. Actually. Someone. Who's been at the cutting edge of thinking about the future of humanity, and the world is author, James, Hughes, in, a, seminal, text citizen, cyborg, he predicts an exciting, future of, transience. But. What precisely, is transhumanism. Well. In the simplest terms transhumanism. Is to believe that present, and future technology. Can, transform, human. Existence, it. Looks at the ways in which technology for, both good and bad can. Make a real difference and how we live act and even, conceive, ourselves, as human. Beings. How. Did you begin thinking, about the, question, of technology. And politics. And its relationship, to the future in the early 2000s.
The Politics, of human, enhancement technologies. Really began to take off so. The. That, was the context, in which I read citizen cyborg and I was really I was exploring, these questions of what. A citizenship. Identity. Could, be in a world that was rapidly. Becoming. More diverse in the forms of intelligent. Sentient, beings, that inhabit it, and then. We began to see, in. The, last 18, months the growth of trumpism. Putinism. Their, terror day etc, etc etc, and. Things. Were happening in the Futurist and transhumanist space where people were getting very interested, in electoral politics. And, I, think we're beginning to see not. Not, transhumanism. Per se but we're, beginning to see the left begin. To grapple with some, of, the issues of the future you, know here in the in Boston, and the socialist. Youth. The Millennials, who've all begun to flood into the left organizations. They. Just. It ripples off their tongue fully automated, luxury, communism, it's, just assumed. That there's going to be this new paradigm of post work. Luxury. So, at least in those some of those basic, political economy, issues I think we're beginning to see the emergence of a new future. Informed. Politics. I would, say that there's a much stronger particularly. Within the left and particularly, with in young. People a kind. Of discussion, about are. We, gonna have jobs and do we even want jobs, and I, think that is a big movement too, you know from, a post, employment fear. To, a post work hope, and. That's beginning to happen but I think. Going. Back one. Of the kind, of questions that I have is that how. Do you see helping. People move from. This from Anna kind of ideological abstract. Debate to actually begin thinking about in their own lives, what. This could concretely, mean if you talk to people now and, you tell them well, you know it's possible that we could have technologies. In 10-15 years that stop, the aging process and, eventually that might even reverse it and the. Death might become, more or less optional. At some point in the future most, people say oh that sounds, terrible and what about this and what about that and most of that sour grapes thinking, you know very, few people who are 90 years old commit suicide most people if they're offered, an extra couple years of life will take it so. I think when we get there they will take it but the sour grapes is I don't really believe, yet that, that is gonna be on the table so I have to reject, that and still, buy into an affirm a paradigm, in which death is good, and. The, same thing with a post-work society, that as, long, as people don't believe post-work. Affluence. Is possible, then, they have to just reject the whole paradigm and say well a society, of moochers that just all sit in front of their TV wouldn't that be terrible you know so at some point with, all these issues there's gonna be a tipping point where, so. Many people are unemployed or, dramatically, suddenly, in one year lose their jobs because of automation, that, people. Begin to say wait a minute is there another way to do this where, some new breakthrough. Changes. The paradigm around, aging, and people say oh maybe there is a way maybe there's a possibility of us all living a long time let's start thinking about how that's going to work and, I. We. Need to prepare those, of us who have a kind of techno progressive, vision for this we need to prepare to make sure it goes one way and not another what. Do you see as like. You said tipping point questions, around, empowerment. And technology. That are really going to help define a debate, and really.
Kind. Of shape some, of the ways in which we're thinking about the future and see condition you know transform, the future I've. Tried to back out of prediction. Because. You. Know as, long as I've been my dad got me a subscription. To the futurist magazine, when I was like 12 and he. Took me into his workplace. And taught me till you learn basic when, I was 13, with. Punch cards because, he said son. Computers. Are the future you have to know basic, he was right about the computers he was wrong about the basic and throughout. You know 25. Years ago I was sure that we were on the cusp of having anti-aging, therapies pills. For obesity. Artificial. Intelligence was around the corner and, so forth and you, know all these things take a lot more time then, the, futurists tend to estimate, I wouldn't, try to predict, what's going to happen the next five years but it's clear, that. Things. Are changing very rapidly very, chaotically, very. Unexpectedly. In the geopolitical. Domain. That. New technologies, continue to emerge at an unpredictable, rate, we, have to sketch, them out in the broadest possible way, and sketch. Out the future that we want to create beyond, those, possibilities. Because. We just don't know when they're gonna come it might come next week. It might come in 15. Years whenever. It comes we. Have to be prepared to ensure, that we get to an egalitarian, liberal. And. Prosperous. Future. The. Ideas sigh boards, may seem utterly futuristic. Or even completely, fantastical. However. The use of human enhancements, is nothing new as an, effect quite ordinary, think. Only of our, use of eyeglasses, or. A, prosthetic, arms, however. How, does this relate to the future of work, the machines room is a makerspace in East London where, young creative, entrepreneurs, are trying to build the future of work today, I went. Along with Cinzia Crayola to speak to some of the people working. Can. You tell me a bit more about what, does what. Disturb disability, does, disrupt. Accessibility, started. Life really, as a group, of community, of wheelchair users who. Were really interested, in finding out more about wheelchair. Design and, wheelchair manufacturing. I wanted to be connected to designers, and makers, so. We're. Currently in a makerspace and there are all sorts of digital fabrication tools. And machines around us we have 3d. Printers laser, cutters CNC. Mills so, it's very very easily led and our our main focus, is really, on facilitating, that so that people can have wheelchairs, that are designed for. Them we. Were, inspired or, Rachel, Bullock, who's the founder of disrupt, disability was inspired. By, an organization, called enable, here, she came across when she was a trip to I think Jordan they were using 3d printing to support refugees of the Syrian, crisis they. Showed me a 3d printed, prosthetic hand, that they made for a boy who lost his fingers in the conflict they, fully customized, it to his body and they'd even made it look like the Ben 10 hand so. It was customized, to his preferences, but. The total cost it was only $39. To make Rachel. Did, some research and found out that the reason that they were able to do this was because they. Were working. With a community, and online community, of designers who. Were voluntarily, designing. And. Contributing, their designs for prosthetics, and that, each of those designs could then be 3d printed we, think the people who best. Place to. Understand. What they want from a wheelchair and articulate, that are people who use wheelchairs for themselves so, imagine. You're trying to climb a mountain but. You're wearing a pair of stilettos and, they're. Three sizes too small. It. Would be pretty difficult and, that's. Exactly what it's like to use a wheelchair that hasn't been customized, to your body your lifestyle, and your environment. The. Problem is with traditional, manufacture. Customization. Is really expensive so. Currently a customized. Wheelchair costs about 2,000, pounds at, the moment, the, wheelchair. Market is very different to say the market for glasses, no. I I wear glasses because. Can't, really see very well without them and I. Go to opticians, and I receive the prescription, for.
My Glasses but, from that point onwards, the, experience, of buying a pair of glasses is very much like the experience, of buying a pair of shoes it's, it's. Down to my tastes, it's down to what I want to look like but. Wheelchairs. That process, is quite. Medicalized somebody is immediately. Treated in the process of choosing. Their wheelchair as a disabled, person whereas. In my, experience of buying glasses I have never once been treated as a disabled, person I mean. And, partly. That's because there. Is not much, customization, in, terms of wheelchairs wheelchair design has been quite static, previously. The only people involved, in wheelchair design were. Medical. Professionals. Engineers. Designers. And perhaps a wheelchair, user at some point in that process but. The range of people we've been able to involve is much broader so, we've got artists, we've. Had we. Had a locksmith. We've. Had people from an incredibly rate incredibly. Broad range of different disciplines and I think this kind of creativity, is. Something, that we'll start to see more of because. Distributed. Manufacture, and digital fabrication really. Enable these kinds of collaborations, can you tell us a bit more what, is digital, publication. And what is distributed. Manufacturing sure. So digital fabrication is, kind. Of four it says on the tin it's using. Digital means using something. Like CAD, computer-aided, design, to. Design, and then manufacture. And, distributed. Manufacturing means. That you can manufacture, anywhere. You, don't have to manufacture in a central location so as opposed to where. Traditionally, you might have, a workshop, where. You're making all, your wheelchairs. And. Then you ship, those wheelchairs to the customer we're, looking at actually how can we take that manufacturing. Process much closer to the customer so how could somebody go to, their local, makerspace. Or their local manufacturer, and have. Something made for, them what. Where is this stupid disability, now the, point we've come to is we've started to look at creating, a modular world-class system. Realized, it's quite, difficult somebody, who's never made a wheelchair before to make a whole wheel chair and also, that, for the user. They, might have. An element of their chair for example the cast of fork. From. The front wheels that. They might say they need to change it so for, their day-to-day life when they're working in an office in London and it. They want something quite small and neat and discreet but, at the weekends they like going for long walks in the Lake District and therefore. They need something that can handle the rougher terrain as you would do with a bike yeah as you would use a bike so having, something that's able. To be interchanged. Is a we. See as something that could really benefit. Both the user and the, designer and the maker could. You see. This. Model, this, organizational. Model working for, other organizations. In the present and in the future yeah, I think actually it's a really good way to start a business and if. You start with your users. Your customers, and the. Problem that you're trying to solve and really. Make. That very human, and then, try and build your solutions out of that working, with disrupt disability, in the same space is Julian, fuss air from. Batch Works another. Company, working. To produce personalized. Products, using, digital technology. So. It's interesting with batch works though because when people think of production, they sometimes, think of craft work which is someone. Making one thing or they think of mass production which, is yeah this is using but when, I think of batch I think of someone with something that I'm cooking. What. Is batch production batch. Manufacturing. Is, kind of breached a gap in between so, it's production, fits, the needs of Taraka home and. So. Yeah it's, it's, a, low volume production, basically, maybe, you could share a little bit about your background your. Inspiration, with this and then how you made that inspiration, or reality, I was working full time as an architect and, and. As, I. Kind. Of quickly realized that I wanted, to make things not spending, my, full time behind a computer so. I've started using my skills in you, know 3d. Modeling, and hat, drawing and put these kind, of skills, in. Sweetie printing you can have an idea in the morning prototype, it make it and see if it's available so, this is really poor form because the design process is you know from. Three months or six months to you know one day are, you actually seeing, the, fact that more types, of people can get into, this. So I think this is where you know makerspace, and fab, labs are I've, been created, is to kind of do, these kind of bridge between, you. Know people kind, of you know geeky, you know about you know what you're printing and woodworking and some people just you know pop in and say right I just want to make a boat or you know it's, pretty open but I think this space make the key of that people talked quite a bit about sustainability, yeah.
These Aspects but if we can even look at this lamp. Project, so this. Was made from completely, recycled materials, yeah maybe. You could talk a little bit about the process of making, that and how this represents, a more sustainable form of production yeah, so the idea was, we. Wanted to make a product right, like, which, product to make and the first thing let's. Make a lampshade and from there we were like how, can we really, print and locally make that so it's fire it's a valuable product to sell on markets because, wine I there is no 3d, printing product in the market if you go to John. Lewis, there is no 3d, printed product so, we started looking for different material, different, type of design and best. Way to print, it so it's quick and it's efficient, in. Terms of material, we were looking for, something. That is, interesting. For the light as well so it's not just a spotlight, and something that is kind of you know bit useless so, we wanted to use the actual layers. Of the printers, to. Be interesting, for the light then, we've looked for transparent, filaments which so. We found this company Dutch company. Where. They do which, I that's the only company unity who recycle, things. And turn them into filament. So. You can use it on 3d printer so they send us some samples and. Basically they shred the bottles melt. It into filament, and we, basically. Use. It to print objects with, production. Sometimes, people feel very outside, of it yeah, either they have no how things are produced and they just buy them yeah or, they. Feel very, much as if when, they are making them they, don't have a lot of control of the process, but. This seems a much more personalized. And yeah Lusa form of production yeah it's basically when he uses 3d printers, there was no almost. No waste, which. Mean you, print one part at a time so, each part can be personalized. So, we did this project of 50. Lampshade in Paris it was the, clan say we want 25, different design of this, 15 I'm shade and and for, us the printing time was exactly, the same because is doing one at a time so. Why, does doing one, you. Know the other one is prepared to be printed and in print other design so you can it can change, the design we, were the only one able to do that because they. Wanted to do in metal, and in specific.
Type Of production, but. It was just like six. Months later time or three months depending on the technology so kind, of looking forward, to this I mean would she say that this is in many ways the future. Manufacturing. I think, we don't have to get rid of you, know the mass. Production because, you know we're all buying everyday mass-produced. Stuff. So it's. More about you, know looking. At the local needs and see how, we could combine all these I think the only limit right now is the technology so. Every. Week there is a new printer, every month there is a new studio, printing technology, and and that's. Just gonna you. Know in 5-10 years time then we'll, see but I think it's, we. Can see the potential right now. Spaces. Like the machines are, empowering, contemporary, workplaces allow, people to work according to their own needs and their own set of values however. Is that what the future is going to look like as well or will, it look like a traditional, corporation, that, prioritizes, productivity. And profit over, the needs and desires, of individuals, and communities. Constant. Lynnae from all Jen has, a more optimistic, vision of the future she, and other young people have started a cooperative, that's actually, built to help young people though. Their own cooperatives, using digital technology. I. Think. You, know just the first question we had is what inspired you to help start this organization. I, was. Working. For a very low wage. Because. I was a junior designer and I, couldn't, find any, democracy. At the workplace yeah, feeling no. Sense of agency no power no sense. Of ownership whatsoever. When. You mentioned. Cooperatives. To people who. Perhaps you know hadn't. Heard of them before I mean, what, were some of the things in which you you know were, able to tell them about what a cooperative is and what makes a cooperative different, in, the workers cooperative, um all. The workers are members, owners. And directors of, the workplace so in. Terms of your, sense of agency you, do you. Do feel, that, you have a say of the, big decisions that matter, to. You and to your. Colleagues and you, don't feel that you're submitting, some kind of orders. And and, arbitrary. Decisions, from some, shareholders, that you've never met so we start from the people in order to organize and, in. In, opposition, to a work place where you go and you apply. For a job you. Come and, you have to fit in the box and you. Have your CV that tries, to fit in this box um.
Here. We go, the. Opposite, there. We go the other way around where we look at who you are and what. You can do what you want to do so, in what ways have you been able to use. Technology kind. Of I would, get smart technology, contemporary. Technology 21st century technology. In. Order to. Help. Spread. The cooperative's. Particularly. With young people. Is. Communication, and good communication between, people and technology obviously. Helps. A lot with communication, it accelerates, it facilitates. It brings. Transparency is. Very. Agile, and I think it has, got it allows us to. To. Move as quickly as we would, in terms of our thinking. Is like yeah, thanks to the technology. We can we, can do things as quickly as we think about them your, cooperative, who's helping other people establish, a co-operative so are the things in the practices, of yourself, of learning you, know as a cooperative, that you're then able to share the cooperatives of some of your own challenges, or some of the own possibilities. That you discovered, and can, you maybe give some examples, of that for people yeah. And basically. What we did was peer. To peer learning and from, what we did we. Kind of. Drew. Up some kind, of templates, and also. Shared, our mistakes, and I think we have to deal earn. Hierarchy. And we, have to learn how to be. Running. An. Organizational. Project together in, a mode in a more equal way and this. Means loads of work on communication. And it's all about relationship, really the point you will bring about having to deal earn a lot of our values, they learn hierarchy. Deal earn kind of authority, that, cooperatives. Actually offer us a space in which to have on. An everyday level kind, of more empowering, relationships. With each other and ones, that I think are not just a kind of you, know part of the economy could be a dominant, form of organization for the economy. We are, not only we're. Not consumers. Anymore but we are, active. Participants, and we are political. Human. Beings and I think this is. This. Is very. Exciting. To see happening, so there's a real debate going. On at the moment with. My, co-operators. And colleagues. Around. The question of for. Example um. Owning. Twitter altogether. If we own Twitter the question of ownership and. The. Ownership of technology, no thinking. About the future of the economy is a very very important, question and, cooperatives. Look. At this, very question of ownership. Milton. Keynes is a new town and of course home to the Open University it's. Also a place where the future it's being trialed and created in real time right, before our very eyes, it's. A smart city that soon may be home to driverless, cars and a, place where citizens are being empowered to, use data to transform their lives and their, communities.
Enrico. Mata is a project director of MK smart so, I asked him what he thinks our future, cities will look like that, she always been very very interested the intersection, of technology in people so, pretty, much all my career even when I was doing my PhD for suppose interested, in understanding, how. You could build computers, that we're able to solve problems like, like. People do as, opposed is, just having algo it's that a machine like but I know you were like so this intersection between people, technologies is really what drives my research and and of course in the modern world where technology, is now much. More ubiquitous than. It was when I started in my career I will, say working in, an. Intersection technology, and, cities. As. Communities. Is. A natural, step for, for. My recession, and that's what I really like doing so. How, did this become, the MK smart project, and how did this form and what were some of the driving ideas. Behind it well. We are very lucky as Open University to be actually, physically based metal keys and I think we are very lucky we have a very progressive council, that. Looks. At, these. Objective. Or being at the forefront of. Technology. To, improve quality of life in the city is one, of the key the key priorities as, a technologist, I know putting, together a kind of team to, help do this from. A technology side, might be relatively. Straightforward but, what, kinds of other types, of skills did you need in people did you need and how did you kind of come up with creating, a team that wasn't, just about technologists, but also had people from the public and kind, of the ability to have. A. More, inclusive team. That dealt with the people side as well as the technology side yeah, absolutely. The. The, history of not. Just my cities but the tech technology is full, of. Failures. Due. To the fact that, you. Only had technologies, in. The picture and you didn't, have. Other. Profiles including, crucial in the cosmos Pasadena to have citizens. So I think this, is really one of the big strengths or mm casemod the fact is, as. Always not just a technology led project but also is a project where the requirements, come from the council and there, is a strong input from a variety of stakeholders. Industry. Council, academia. But also the community but, also in addition to that you. Know we didn't just do see the engagement we didn't just you know run a road show and told, people what we were doing we say eh come, come come and contribute come and work with us and you. Know if you're really good ideas let us know and we, might actually help you with realize. Any, did we I was very happy that we we helped a number of years to to implementation, that sounds very. Inspiring. And optimistic but I would also be interested in some of the challenges I know for. Instance when people think of smart technology, they, sometimes think of the really, exciting, possibilities. Of it but then when the nitty-gritty comes about it for instance around data sharing it. Becomes a little more complicated so I'd be interested in some, of the concrete, challenges, you faced and you know moving forward this kind of smart empowering, agenda, and also, some of the ways in which we think there, has to be some shifting. Of how people think or, some myths that might emerge that, really. Have hindered, the ability to kind of put this forward in the most empowering way possible, a key. Challenge is really to, do with. Data. Availability and the nature of data. When. You talk about smart solutions, in cities and. Not all the time is basically, about. Generating. And making available data, that. Can, improve this issue of making it but then of course when you look at the practice I see all these data that you talk about typically, belong to many. Many different organizations very. Often you, have ideas where you know if, we can get all this data for example power energy use then. We can do these clever things that then means everybody wins you know we can optimize use, of energy and ok, but the data about energy use belong to individual, customers there is a privacy element, there and, again these these tension.
Has. Not been sold. Optimally. At the moment of. Course you don't necessarily want I, simply don't want all. My energy data to to, be released the public, that anybody, can use them and know that those are my energy data, because. They're, private data and second you can infer a lot about my my. Lifestyle, and, the lifestyle of my family simply from looking at the energy data even you know when we are told me we are not at home what role do you see in projects, I am play smart and for technologists to do a similar process with data empowerment, and allowing, people to understand, the possibilities, of data there is a big challenge for us in. Being, able to develop for, example. Data. Portals, city data portals, which. Are really accessible, which make, information. Interesting. Enough, and. Easy. To discover enough that, people might say actually I would like to know what the council is doing my neighborhood for example respect, to wrote. The building, or, energy. Or whatever and any other any other initiative. Beyond. That I think the the the. Key. Approach is really then to come up with dedicated, the solutions, for specific things so for example like the, our MK portal is a very successful portal, because, it doesn't try to do, everything it doesn't try to you. Know be a, partner, where you go and find anything that is up in the cancer is simply a portal, to, encourage. Crowdsourcing. Ideas debate. About this math city and allow, people to. To. Propose ideas vote on other people ideas and eventually to have a debate and to come to some. Agreement. About about. Priorities, so. Essentially there, is these also. This kind of high road the low road the low road is to have many more portals, like our MK which just do one thing but i do really nicely, and engage, the community the, high road easels, to find better. Interfaces. And better, mechanism. To. To, allow people to. Make. Sense of data and. That's really of, course really important. Not. Just Milton Keynes but you know for. A healthy democracy, in. Today's world as, you know in. The past few years there's been a little bit of a shift. Irrationality. And certain. You. Know, essentially. Diminish, the value or evidence. And. I think is really important actually to. Try and, address. That by having, better. Solutions, to allow people to really. See. The data about, an issue and then. Make up their mind that. That's not an easy challenge. It's. Clear, that we need radical, new ideas about how and why we want to, do so we, need to adopt a wider perspective about, what the future of society will, look like and how we can get there, we. Had Paul Wally go talk to Duncan green at Oxford, about, how systems thinking can allow us to do just this. Can. I just start, by asking you to tell. Me what you see systems, thinking as. So. In awesome I think systems. Thinking is about, pulling. Back the the lens on the camera and looking at the whole of, the context, so, you're saying okay we look at you know the classic metaphor, is we look at teaching. The fishermen, to, fish, and. Then we now look at what's. The state of the water in the river is it the fisherman of the fish and women what's, the state of the care economy, in which they are living. Whose, governing, the. Rules on on the catches are they gonna have to pay a bribe when they catch some fish and try and sell it can, I even get it to market, so you zoom out and sudden you see is much more complex system in. Which your intervention. Your project, is supposed to achieve impact and unless you think about, the whole system it's quite likely your project will achieve very little okay. So what kinds of examples can you give me of action, applying systems thinking to projects, well often I think Oxfam. Stuff don't, consciously apply, systems thinking it's just, that the good staff do it naturally I mean that's one thing, I've noticed so, for example in Tanzania. If, it came to us and said we want you to try something different on governance. And accountability getting. Local. Government to listen to local villages, and, we had this genius kind, of local. Program. Person who said okay well we don't know what to do so what we'll do is we'll try eight, different, approaches, everything from street, musicians, to a radio, show to school. Management committees and, then after our after nine months we'll, sit down with the local communities and local partners, and say, which one's work best and we'll scale those up and we'll close down the ones that are not working so well so actually she'd kind of reinvented, evolution, because she was doing variation, selection, amplification. Which is the kind of core process of evolution and she just worked it out from first principles which always just amazes me when people come up with this kind of thing I think's take all the management's, quite an important aspect of systems. Work isn't it absolutely so we we get people to.
Stand Back and you know typically in in the aid NGO. Sector people. Have start off with a very limited sense of state you know the state and the people and then, when you start talking to them they obviously have a much more nuanced understanding and. You start unpacking the ecosystem, and start thinking okay, so there's at least 20 stakeholders, who will affect whether, that fishing community can fish yeah, one of the things that struck me with a lot of the systems, work in this kind of area is how. The beneficiaries. Of some of the aid or, treated. As an equal stakeholder. In many, instances. On a good day okay. I don't want to oversell what all town does or what other NGOs do there's always a problem that you, know in many cases we have a clash of accountabilities, so, we are accountable, upwards to the people who will it give us the money I'm, recount, will downwards, to, the people we're trying to help and if those who come into tension often, money talks so, there is always a real tension to try and be. Accountable to the communities. To, have proper, consultation. Just, as in in the research world you know it's very easy to, say I'm going to have. Participation, of local communities but, there's no budget to go back and many present. The findings of the research and you end up just being quite extractive, so there are always these clashes. Of incentives, which, stop you doing what you want to do yeah I do think sometimes that, there's a there's, a temptation to impose a Western solution on a non Western. Situation. And, there are temptations in all directions and, so then one temptation, is I've got this great idea I'm going to impose it another. One is Oh everybody. Knows their own answers, we're just going to uncover the the richness which is parley, there but actually people want new, ideas and new technologies and, new things so there's, a danger of being wrote over romantic, and being. Over sort of and. Being very arrogant that they're, equal, they're, not equal but they're both they're both risks. I think okay, and, what. About the challenges of implementing this kind of systems work do you see many. Lots. So. I mean, there's chat there's external, challenges so. Now. You're at we're in a world now where the. Funders, will say what are you going to do and. They, want to know pretty much in advance what. You want to do they. Want to know what results you're going to get and then, they want you to measure those results and to. Be able to attribute any improvement, to what you did now, a lot of that is actually enough, systems thinking so if there are multiple, feedback, loops numerous, stakeholders everybody, interacting with everybody else a it's, very hard to predict the change and B it's very hard to attribute any change to one particular, intervention. So, you're in a situation where people are asking for the impossible in some cases, and. That, can distort what you do in two ways one it means you actually look for the places which is simple where you can get, in vaccinate. Some kids get out again before. The system sort of collapses, on you or. You, actually just. Well. Lie to be honest you you do complex, interventions, you improvise. You surf the tide of events and then when you report by to head office you say no the project went great but I went to plan and, there's. Been some really interesting anthropological. Work looking at how aid workers, live. This double life of. Facing. Outs in complex systems and facing, back in simple linear systems, and and, doing both at the same time I think it's a monumental. Waste of effort and that part, of the reason I'm publishing. And writing and thinking about this is to get people moving to a more engaged. Approach. With system yeah it changes, the style of working, and, in particular than the way that things are managed yeah, I mean there's a wonderful, book by women called Donella Meadows called, thinking in systems who says we have to learn to dance with the system so, I always tell our staff that you know you need to be, fundamentally. Curious, about how the system is changing before. You think about what you're going to do you have to want to dance with the system and then you can think of your own moves a bit but it's it's, that curiosity. And wanting to find the answers that are popping, up anyway.
In. The system and build on those rather than think I am, you know I'm coming in from the outside with these great ideas and lucky, old people they're gonna just absorb them and that's that's the worst way to do it yeah what. Do you think of the main benefits that you get out of this approach. The. Main benefits, is if. You caricature. The old way of doing aid it was I'm gonna do all my thinking up front I'm, then gonna spend three years implementing. The plan I came up with all that thinking and then at the end of three years I'm going to evaluate right. And then typically when you do the evaluation you find that either all or some of it didn't work so one, major benefit, is that you realize what's not working much, earlier and you. Think as you go and you learn as you go it's, as if you. Know if. I ride my bicycle across London, and, I set out in advance the. Direction of travel and the velocity at all points for the way I get across London I'm gonna die before I get the end of the road you've. Got to respond, to the traffic the situation, and you adjust so. We're trying to make. Projects. And interventions. By organizations, like Oxfam. Smart. Like riding, a bike rather than trying, to drive a tank across London. For. Young hungry entrepreneurs. The future, of work seems bright indeed the. Internet of Things is gonna allow us to do things faster smarter. And more, efficiently, but, for the rest of us the, idea of not having a job can, seem absolutely, terrifying. It, raises serious questions about. How. Will I pay my rent how. Will I pay my mortgage how, will I even pay for my next meal. Malcolm. Tory seems to think he has the answer to these questions we. Asked Charles Bart Hall to go talk to him about, his promotion of a citizen's basic income. What. Is basic. Income. Basic. Income it's very simple. Idea it's sometimes, called by, the name citizens, income, universal. Basic income, now sometimes, citizens basic income they all mean the same thing they mean an unconditional. Income, for every individual, an. Unconditional. Means that the. Amount you get wouldn't depend on your income, or your wealth or your employment status or. Your, relationships, with anybody else it, will be exactly the same mud money for, every one of the same age it, could vary with somebody's, age so somebody who's older might get more somebody who's, younger might get less child will get less but. Otherwise, it remains entirely, unconditional. How, much. Are. We talking about in there in this country in the UK um. That's. A very interesting question because. Suggest. All kinds of different suggestions, have of course been made. The. The. Research that we've. Done suggests, this if. You had a large. Citizens. Basic, income, the tax rates required, to pay for it would be quite high, that. Might not be politically feasible what. We have proved, is that a, citizens. Basic income of 60, 1 pounds a week can. Be paid for by reducing. To zero your personal, your, income tax person allowance and the. Lower, earnings threshold, for national insurance contributions and. Raising. All national. Insurance contributions to. 12% and. Income. Tax rates would only need to rise by 3%. By. Doing that we could provide every, single working age adult with a citizens, basic income a 61 pounds week why, is it important, for you and, why is the important in general after. I left University I, worked for 2 years on. The public counter in a means-tested benefits office, it. Was called the supplementary, benefit office then, and it was part of what was then called the Department for Health and Social Security. So. For two years I was placing, um quite, often angry, members of the public and. Some. Quite. Stressed members of staff behind me trying to manage a really difficult means, benefit, system and. The system was clearly bad for everybody who was bad for the claimants, in front of me was bad for people behind me and. At. The same time I realized, just how useful, child, benefit was because. The. Child benefit is an, unconditional, income. For every. Child it goes to the child's, carer and it, just kept on coming for everyone who. Was in front of me complaining, about mistakes. In their means-tested, benefits and. So, back. Then I'd. Begun to think well why can't we do, things generally rather differently, so. That it all looks a bit more like child benefit, you mentioned, in basically a number of problems, connected, to, administering. Benefits. And that, this, basic, income would would, sort, out but, there probably as well benefits, for for people and not only from the perspective of the, government government, perhaps you kids oh absolutely, I could mention if you although administrative.
Problems, Affect, the, claimants. Of benefits, just. As much as they affect the government and, the, administrative, simplicity of. A, citizens basic income is one of the most important things about it. It. Because. Of its simplicity you. Could completely. Computerize. It so it would start at your birth you would end up your death and nothing. Would need to be done to it between those two points in time it, would just keep on coming. Very. Unlike our present means-tested, benefits system, which, is complex. It requires, constant. Administration. It, requires, vast amounts, of time and effort being put in by claimants. And by, the staff administering, it and. It's. Full of errors their error rates are huge and. Fraud as well and because. Fraud can. Happen within such a means-tested benefits system, sometimes the, difference between error and fraud is quite, a difficult, line, to find, because. What. Is simply, an error can. In fact feel it can in fact legally. Be a fraud and, so. Both. The staff and public, suffer. A great deal from, the administration, means-tested, benefits and, none of that would, why to, a citizens, basic income. For, 400. Years beeping means-testing, benefits, and, therefore. We, we, intuitively, believe. That. If the, poor need money you should give money to the poor which. Means that you then take it away from them if they become less poor which. Means it's quite difficult for them to earn their way out of poverty so. That's. That's something that's deeply, embedded in, our. In. Our minds, and, it. Means that an, unconditional. Income. Sometimes. Finds, it quite difficult to, lodge in our minds as a sensible, idea because. It's not something they're used to it's. Counterintuitive, giving. Money to everybody because people say the, rich don't need it why give it to the rich the poor need the money um, but unfortunately, if you give money just to the poor, it becomes an inefficient, means st benefit that is far more sensible, to, give money to everybody and they're not taxing, the rich more than they receiving in their citizens basic income anyway, so, what's the problem especially, if it's very efficient to give everyone the money but. There, is still a problem with psychological feasibility, seems to me that this, is connected this, psychological, feasibility. Is related, to you the, fact that we. Tend to associate. Income. With work and then. This basic income would be huge cultural. And. Perhaps even, anthropological. Change because then people would have to start, realizing. That, income. Is not necessarily. Connected to. Work one of the reasons why opinion, may start may now be shifting and it does seem to be, is. Is. Is that the employment, market is becoming much, more problematic. For more people and so. It's, beginning to be understood how. Could. Basic. Income empower. People how can it how could it be an opportunity, for people one, of the important. Effects. Of citizens basic income would be to increase people's choice choices. Um and that, is an empowering thing of course, so. If. You've got more choices in the employment market you. Might decide that if you're in a couple one of you what, will who. Currently working full-time may, well work part-time. Or. You may both get part-time, jobs instead of one of you getting a full-time job for instance you could you would have choices, to make and it's. When people have choices that, they start to look at what they're doing with their lives and so, yes. You may well find that, people, with caring responsibilities. Can put more time into them you. Might also find that, because, your. Marginal deduction, rates have reduced some. People might seek more paid employment so it could go either way and. The. Way it went would, be actually largely up to you again. So what, I'm saying is that the choices will be there and we. May see an increase in voluntary. Activity in the community I hope we would and there will be the option the opportunity, for that we, may see more people, putting. More effort and time into caring, responsibilities. In relation to children older, parents, and so on and. There will be people more, able to make those choices, with. How they make choices of course we, don't know it's up to them that's the whole point of a citizens basic income it gives people choices.
Technology. Will play a big part in our future but, I believe that we now have the chance to shape that future by, thinking about how we want, to learn and making sure that is one where we take the power and challenge. The established, way companies. Want us to it. Is up to all of us to, help build and design a future that, is as open, as it is technological. That, is as empowering, as it, is smart if, we don't you, might just find ourselves living, in a world tomorrow that is not of our own choosing and one. That has moved us rapidly forward, technologically. But, dramatically, backwards, as a society. Get. More from the Open University check, out the links on screen now.