We are living through a time of upheaval, with increasing threats to global health,
democratic institutions, and the world’s economies. But behind the alarming headlines is
another issue that must be quickly addressed: the role of workers is being
transformed—and often rendered obsolete—by automation and artificial intelligence.
As Jamie Merisotis, the president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, argues in HUMAN WORK: In
the Age of Smart Machines, we can—and must—rise to this challenge by preparing to work
alongside smart machines doing that which only humans can: thinking critically, reasoning
ethically, interacting interpersonally, and serving others with empathy.
In Human Work, Merisotis, author of the award-winning 2015 book AMERICA NEEDS
TALENT, offers a roadmap for the large-scale, radical changes we must make in order to find
abundant and meaningful work in the 21st century. His vision centers on developing our unique
capabilities as humans through a lifetime of learning opportunities that are easy to navigate,
deliver fair results, and offer a broad range of credentials—from college degrees to occupational
certifications. By shifting long-held ideas about how the workforce should function and
expanding our concept of work, he argues that we can harness the population’s potential,
encourage a deeper sense of community, and erase a centuries-long system of inequality.
As the headlines blink red, now is the time to redesign education, training, and the workplace as
a whole. Yes, many jobs will be lost to technology, but if we promote people’s deeper potential,
engaging human work will always be available.
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Jamie Merisotis is a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, higher education, and public policy. Since 2008, he has served as president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. and a driving force for increasing Americans’ success in higher education. He previously served as co-founder and president of the nonpartisan Institute for Higher Education Policy, and as executive director of a bipartisan national commission on college affordability.
A highly regarded analyst and innovator, Merisotis is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York and the leadership council of The Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project on national service. He is frequently sought after as a media commentator and contributor. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, National Journal, Washington Monthly, Huffington Post, Politico, and other publications.
Merisotis commits his time and energies as trustee for a diverse array of organizations around the world, including his alma mater, Bates College in Maine. He lives with his wife, Colleen O’Brien, and their children, Benjamin and Elizabeth, in Indianapolis.
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