We’re living through a platform revolution where we are work, learn and live on platforms. Traditional institutions (e.g., taxi cabs, newspapers) are straining or fully disrupted. The expectation of customization has spread across the economy.

Jobs are being augmented by smart tools (think AI in HR, ERP in process management, scheduling software). Repetitive jobs are being replaced by automation.

What’s new is the speed of augmentation and automation. In the last few years, a new generation of processing chips made computation cheap and fast enabling rapid development of artificial intelligence. Proliferation of broadband and connected devices (the Internet of Things) led to an explosion of data. The combination of AI and big data is powering robots and other enabling technologies that can learn on their own.

There is likely to be large scale job displacement as secondary school students hit the job market—but it will be different by sector and geography (what we do right now, region by region, matters).

It is even harder to predict job formation. The way in which the ride share and room share sectors created value from free time and underutilized assets (with some collateral displacement) are illustrative of the alchemy of the automation economy.

The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) will also enable custom local manufacturing. Distributed networks of smart micro plants will replace some of the mega plants that governors throw tax breaks at today. Boston call centers staffed by a marketing director and programmer (and a thousand chatbots) will displace hundreds of workers in Bangalore.

There are growing opportunities to care for people young and old. As societies, we’ll have to decide how we value those jobs.

Read the full article about preparing students for jobs of the future by Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag at Getting Smart.