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This is what our working lives will look like in 2040

Twenty years from now the world will look very different, thanks to shifting demographics, climate change, and technologies that track and automate our lives. 

This is what our working lives will look like in 2040
[Source images: zmicierkavabata, Paul Campbell, rikirennes, ghoststone, RomanBabakin, kimberrywood, Chansom Pantip, Suriya Phosri/iStock]
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In November of last year, we finally caught up to the future envisioned in 1982’s Blade Runner

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, things didn’t pan out exactly how Ridley Scott envisioned. We still don’t have flying cars, unless you count oversize drones, and there are no replicants running wild (that we know of, anyway). But more prosaic technology, such as video calls and virtual assistants, is ubiquitous. And while Los Angeles isn’t entirely choked in smog, as Ridley predicted, it’s certainly threatened by wildfires.

This week, to kick off the new decade, Fast Company embarks on an only slightly less ambitious task: predicting what the workplace of 2040 might look like.

Why 2040 specifically? Twenty years from now, Gen Z and millennials will be fully incorporated into the workplace, while Gen X will be stepping back. In many ways, the world of 2040 will look very different, thanks to shifting demographics, climate change, and the widespread adoption of technologies that track and automate every aspect of our daily lives. 

On the other hand, 2040 isn’t so far off that we can’t use the present as a guide. We’ve identified trends that are already shaping workplaces (like a decrease in the appeal of higher education, the ubiquity of remote work, and an increase in corporate surveillance) and used them to help us make bold predictions about workers’ lives—flying cars not included.

Read more: 

How the end of the white majority could change office dynamics in 2040

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About the author

Julia Herbst is the staff editor for Fast Company's Work Life section. Previously she worked as a writer and editor at Los Angeles magazine and BREAKER Magazine.

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