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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

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence

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A few hundred demonstrators were met by a heavy law enforcement presence on Saturday at the "Justice for J6" rally outside the fenced-off U.S. Capitol, AP reports.

The latest: Four people were arrested at the rally, including one person with a gun, one with a knife and two with outstanding warrants, per the U.S. Capitol Police.

DHS to increase deportation flights to Haiti from Del Rio

Migrants walk across the Rio Grande River carrying supplies back to a makeshift encampment under the international bridge between Del Rio, Texas, and Acuña, Mexico. Officials are struggling to provide food, water, shelter and sanitation, forcing migrants to cross the Rio Grande several times per day for basic necessities. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Saturday announced plans to ramp up deportation flights to Haiti out of the small Texas border town Del Rio, starting as soon as Sunday.

Why it matters: Reports have emerged of more than 10,000 migrants, primarily from Haiti, crowded in a temporary camp under the international bridge in Del Rio. Hoping to find refuge in the United States, they've had to bear with filthy conditions and the scorching sun for days, per an NBC News affiliate.