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Project Kick-off: „The Future of Work: Insights – Pop-Up Dialogue Shops on the Working World of Tomorrow“

Can robots make medical and health care more humane? Will I be able to work on the beach as if I were sitting in the office in the near future? Do I want this? Digitalisation is happening now. It affects not only our private life, it affects the way we work as well as our work’s social and ecological impacts.

Digitalisation has many social and ecological benefits. It allows us to work from home, thereby avoiding pollution from traffic, automates many standard processes and can increase safety in the workplace – think about robots that do the risky manoeuvres in factories. At the same time, digitalisation can be scary. Will I lose my job to automation or artificial intelligence?

Under the name, „The Future of Work: Insights – Pop-Up Dialogue Shops on the Working World of Tomorrow“ (Wissenschaftsjahr 2018, Year of Science 2018), the consortium will travel through six German cities with a special exhibition on board. In three scenarios, we will present developments, trends, and the future of specific jobs which are undergoing major changes due to digitalisation. Which technologies are going to make working from home a true alternative for many? How can we co-design the work life we want and use digitalisation in a way that serves not only us, but also considers social and ecological impacts?

Using pop-up stores (vacant storefronts) in cities, the exhibition is supposed to attract as many passer-bys as possible. We will invite them to experience the exhibition, try out the future of work at hands-on terminals and have discussions with experts and other visitors. The visitors will have the chance to interact with the exhibition and state their hopes and fears about the changes under way.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the “Wissenschaftsjahr 2018” and produced in collaboration with the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy and the Folkwang Universität der Künste.