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Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Scientists expect people to live routinely to 100 in the coming decades, and as long as 150. Which also suggests a much longer working life lasting well into the 70s, 80s, and even 100, according to researchers with Pearson and Oxford University.

Quick take: Thinkers of various types are absorbed in navigating the age of automation and flat wages, but their challenge will be complicated by something few have considered — a much-extended bulge of older workers.

  • That includes an even harder time balancing new blood and experience, and sussing out the best basic education for lives probably traversing numerous professions. "How will we ever prepare someone in 16 years for a 100-year career?" Pearson's Amar Kumar tells Axios.

What's going on: In researching the future of work, the Pearson-Oxford team began with a question — if a child were starting school today, what skills would he or she ideally learn in order to be ready for a possibly century-long career (the list they came up with is below)?

Among their conclusions:

  • Future students need to accumulate deep knowledge, as well as skills. This diverges from a common assumption that it's sufficient to know how to look up detail on the Internet. "You need the knowledge so you can build on it to know the next thing," Kumar said.
  • STEM skills will be ultra-useful, but must be twinned with people skills like psychology or anthropology. "Being a great coder will get you a job in 2018. But to sustain you till 2030, you need more skills," he said.
  • It's impossible for a child to learn all the necessary higher-order skills even with an eight-year graduate university education. Instead, people will return to college again and again to refresh their mind.

The assumptions about greater longevity come in part from studies at Harvard and McGill universities. David Sinclair, a professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, says that the first person who will live to be 150 has already been born.

"A child born today in the USA has a 50:50 chance of reaching 104. Some will live much longer."
— Sinclair to Axios

He went on in an email:

"This means the arc of our lives must be re-examined. Future jobs will be filled by healthy, vibrant people over 75, perhaps in non-profit work (such as my 78-year-old father) or just helping out with the family. Women will be able to have children into their 40s with new technologies, allowing them to postpone starting a family."

The top 10 skills a child born today should learn in a normal basic education, according to the Pearson-Oxford study:

  1. Learning strategies
  2. Psychology
  3. Instructing
  4. Social perceptiveness
  5. Sociology and anthropology
  6. Education and training
  7. Coordination
  8. Originality
  9. Fluency of ideas
  10. Active learning

Go deeper

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

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Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.

Trump set to appear at Pennsylvania GOP hearing on voter fraud claims

President Trumpat the White House on Tuesday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump is due to join his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Wednesday at a Republican-led state Senate Majority Policy Committee hearing to discuss alleged election irregularities.

Why it matters: This would be his first trip outside of the DMV since Election Day and comes shortly after GSA ascertained the results, formally signing off on a transition to President-elect Biden.