Jul 25, 2018

E=MC^2 for dummies

The narrative around the future of jobs is that almost any occupation involving a repetitive process — from assembly work to accounting — is vulnerable to automation. According to McKinsey, automation could eliminate up to 800 million jobs around the world by 2030.

Why it matters: The main savior of a job, it is said, will be creativity — the intangible quality that produced E=MC2 and the iPhone. But how many people can possibly have such brain cells?

Allen Gannett, author of The Creativity Curve, argues that it's more than you think. He says that the skill behind a lot of complex activities, such as painting and sports, can be learned through applied training over long periods. And, when combined with the right timing, that can add up to what humans call creativity.

  • The iPhone, he tells Axios, was not fundamentally new, but an adaptation of existing products, the addition of Steve Jobs' ideas, and spectacular timing.
  • "Value is a social construct," Gannett said. "It's human preference."
  • "Creativity is not about radical newness, but a blend of the familiar and the new."

Everyone thrown out of work in the coming years and decades is not going to find new work, Gannett says — government will have to step in with a social answer, probably involving the redistribution of income. But, as preparation for the coming jobs crisis, he suggests government policy also get behind teaching the skills of applying creativity to obtain and keep jobs.

Go deeper

28 mins ago - Sports

European soccer's push to return

A Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munchen in an empty stadium. Photo: Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

European soccer made a splash Thursday, with two of its biggest leagues announcing official return-to-play dates in June.

Why it matters: Soccer is the world's most popular sport, so watching its return through the lens of various leagues, countries and cultures — all of which have been uniquely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic — is illuminating.

The corporate bankruptcy wave has just gotten started

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Even with trillions of dollars in loans, grants and government support — with markets having absorbed a record $1.22 trillion of corporate debt in just five months — a slew of companies are defaulting on their loans and filing for bankruptcy in what is expected to be a record wave of insolvencies and defaults.

Why it matters: While equity and debt markets have rallied thanks to massive interventions from the Federal Reserve and Congress and excitement about the removal of lockdown orders, the real economy is quietly buckling, with many companies threatened by issues that predate the coronavirus pandemic.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

CNN crew released after being arrested live on air while reporting on Minneapolis protests

CNN's Omar Jimenez and his crew were released after being arrested Friday by Minneapolis state police while reporting on the protests that followed the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody in the city.

What happened: CNN anchors said Jimenez and his crew were arrested for not moving after being told to by police, though the live footage prior to their arrests clearly shows Jimenez talking calmly with police and offering to move wherever necessary.