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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

3 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
7 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.