Marketing & Media trends
Bronwyn Williams: #BizTrends2023: The impact of social contracts - home, work and State
“The theme for this year is the renegotiation of contracts that govern what it means to be a human and live in society, from the home all the way up to the multinational organisations and once you start pulling at these threads, everything comes apart,” says Williams.
New socio-economic and political contracts
New social contracts are needed as we move forward on the home, work and political front. Williams says society has changed, and so can we if enough people buy into different and new ideas.
“We take our political and socio-economic systems for granted, but they were put in place by men and women like us and we can purpose different ones if we get enough people to buy into them.”
All these ideas can be challenged. “I think it is quite exciting that we can challenge even the very fundamental things that we take for granted, such as Sars taking a third of yours!”
She asks: “Aren’t there other ways to do this?”
“Instead of having things like income tax, maybe we shouldn’t be taxing income and capital gains, we should be taxing other things, like land value, even the Republican party in the US is proposing a different way of collecting tax.”
This she says can be seen as proposing a different sort of contract, “what we give and what we get”.
“But the other choice is to say, these contracts aren’t working, let’s come up with something entirely different… maybe we shouldn’t be taxing income and capital gains, we should be taxing other things, like land value…, which can be seen as proposing a different sort of contract, what we give and what we get…”
The world of work
When it comes to work, she says what is most interesting to businesses currently is the relationship between what an employer and what an employee is.
This needs to be renegotiated she says. “We need to ask if is work a time-based agreement or is it a value exchange. That’s fundamental to how our whole economy works.”
The topic of work brings us to the topic on everyone’s lips this year: AI.
According to Williams AI has not been properly defined as philosophers will debate what intelligence is, and what artificial is. “But, in essence it is synthetic intelligence or intelligence that hasn’t evolved biologically, that has rather been created by us, to serve us, or perhaps one day to rule and guide us, at least help us make better decisions."
Where AI fits in
When it comes to ChatGPT she says that in terms of the creative industry, there is a big difference between content designed for a LinkedIn post and a corporate blog.
“I don’t think we need to be frightened of a job apocalypse, there’s plenty of room both at the top and at the bottom for humans to be more human, so we really need to double down on what makes us, us…”
She says that if you want content for bots, or for people who aren’t looking for anything new, they are looking for the average, then ChatGPT is your answer.
So, answering the question of whether creatives should be worried about their jobs she states: “If you are producing mediocre work, ChatGPT can produce mediocre work better and faster than you can, so if you’re not adding anything new to the conversation you should be very frightened if you want to be future proof in your career, you have to be adding value.”
Her advice: "Play with these technologies and then hand over the parts of your job that it can do. And then don't be average."
That said she adds that we do not need to be frightened of a job apocalypse as there is “plenty of room both at the top and at the bottom for humans to be more human, so we really need to double down on what makes us, us”.
What she does say is that we need to do is to unlearn a lot of things that we’ve lost through this whole sort of digitalisation of society which trained us to be more bot-like if we want to be future fit.
Bronwyn Williams is a partner at Flux Trends executive consultancy, and is an influential future thinker, trend translator, future finance specialist, business trend analyst, author, academic, columnist and media personality. Follow @bronwynwilliams @fluxtrends
In conversation with Rutendo Nyamuda. Founder Tinzwe Media. @roo10dough | www.tinzwemedia.com