We need open questions not overhasty Answers
When a great number of factors congeal and the future of a complex system is dependent on a multiplicity of actors, there is never only one possible future. This also holds true for the debates around the future of work in Germany which since the publication of the study by Osborne and Frey and the dialogue on Work 4.0 initiated by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) have garnered increasing attention (Frey & Osborne 2013, BMAS 2015). Even if we must relinquish all hope of absolute certainty in our forecasts, it is still vital that we deal with the future and make long-term plans. This can only succeed if we simultaneously hold alternative courses of future development in our minds and ask ourselves two key questions: What kind of future do we want? And how can we act so as to achieve it? The aim is not to make forecasts that are bound to be realised, but rather to identify new options for taking present action. This makes it much more important to understand what the key drivers of development are and to question our basic suppositions about what might be needed in order to find new perspectives for solutions. It’s more about identifying and formulating open questions and less about an exact forecast for the labour market and future work.