BY Fast Company 3 MINUTE READ

Are you fit enough to share in a world of intelligent technologies?
With intelligent machines and the onset of Industry 4.0, the future has inspired a mix of fear and fantasy. There are those who fear massive job losses and those who see only opportunity, with robots featuring everywhere in our daily lives. The effect of automation technologies on our lives – from robotic process automation and artificial intelligence to physical robots and beyond – is inevitable.  Those who don’t adapt will find that technology evolves so far beyond them, that it creates a permanent gap they won’t be able to bridge anymore.

When you want to improve your physical fitness, you turn to the pros – a trainer, maybe a doctor – and you ask them to give you an assessment. They run some tests, generate some numbers, and they review the results with you. They tell you how fit you are and help you make a plan to improve your fitness. But what do you do when you want to improve your fitness for the future that will be filled with new and ever-evolving technology?

Using 20 years of advanced consumer science, global research firm Forrester has created a new framework that includes a powerful five-minute survey to find out who is “future fit” and who isn’t – yet – and what to do about it.

What is future-fit and why is it important?
In the Forrester report “Future Jobs: Plan Your Workforce For Automation Dividends And Deficits”, analyst Craig LeClair explains that as automation gets smarter, machine learning algorithms learn from an ever-growing flow of data, at the same time as computing power gets cheaper. As automation improves in context and variability, it takes on more human functions, the effects of which result in different outcomes for different kinds of workers. Superior human physical and communication abilities will protect human-touch workers and most physical workers from robots taking over their work.

However, there are many workers who will be affected and, in his report “Introducing Forrester Future Fit”, Forrester analyst James McQuivey asks: “Are you fit enough to share in a world of intelligent technologies?” James goes on to explain that, as the next wave of machine technology will employ self-learning intelligence, machines will learn from, and become experts at meeting the needs of, those workers who are adapting to the new technologies. This will accelerate their readiness, boost their knowledge, accentuate their insights, and extend their physical capabilities to a degree that the low-fitness individuals probably wouldn’t even want. Hence the widening of the technology gap.

If you think about it, twenty years ago the present day was the future and people were apprehensive about it. What is constant is that we still:

  • Fear the unknown (robots, automation, and artificial intelligence),
  • Have concerns about what’s next, and
  • Worry about who is going to lead us and the world.

Ever since we lived in caves, people have built tools that enable them to accomplish tasks more easily. Our orientation to technology is therefore a very human thing, even though new technology can seem scary and alienating to us. However as James McQuivey asks: “Who among us has the resources – emotional, psychological, social – necessary to work together with others as well as with machines to craft the future we will live in 20 years from now?”

To find out if you will be one of them, Forrester invites you to take their short survey. The online tool runs a test, generates some numbers and shows you the results of your fitness to thrive in the new world of technology-driven business.

How does it work?
Forrester’s Future Fit tool scores people along a spectrum of health, mental and action-ready, with three attributes each.  These capture how ready you are currently to grasp the potential of new technology and bring that potential to life. The powerful framework connects Consumer Energy, Employee Experience and the Robotic Quotient (RQ – how ready we are to work with digital colleagues) to provide a strategy that goes beyond technology.

James concludes by saying that “technology lifts everybody”. Today’s market economies make sure that the benefits of new technology ultimately reach everyone, eventually.

“That was true for toilets and touchscreens. But the effect of future fitness could end up being different.  The next wave of machine technology will employ self-learning intelligence. The first needs that those machines will learn from and adapt to are the needs of their first users — the future fit.”

Take the survey here.