Secretary Elaine Chao

 
 
 

'We're Under Attack': Online Forum

For NEWSWEEK’s Online Forum on the Future of Work, a panel of experts from business, government and academia joined in a four-day discussion with readers about technology, management and up-and-coming careers. More than 23,000 people from around the world participated—many with anxious questions about how their skills can be adapted for a more competitive, technology-driven environment. Below are excerpts from the Online Forum. The entire transcript—as well as surveys, quizzes and Web-exclusive Next Frontiers stories—can be found on the Web at onlineforum.NEWSWEEK.msnbc.com.

Berkeley, Calif.: What jobs and industries do you think will suffer most or disappear entirely as a result of new technology and a changing work force?
TOM PETERS, management consultant: When a prospective M.B.A. asks me, “What industries should I look at? What industries should I ignore?” I am always rather rude. My response is: “Forget the demographics. What do you love. What turns you on?” In a world where the computer will take over the drudge work, you and I must deeply care about the work we’re doing. Thus, the issue is not “what’s good” or “what’s bad.” It is, instead: where do I want to make a unique contribution that will turn me on?

PAUL SAFFO, director of the Institute for the Future: Just as we once exported blue-collar jobs from the United States, we are on the verge of doing the same thing to white-collar. Software engineers already know this—their competition is low-priced professionals in India and China. And the call-center business is going overseas: chances are your next call to, say, AT&T will be picked up in Bangalore.

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