The future of knowledge work will not look like the past. Too often, people look at trendlines and try to extrapolate things incrementally. With the advent of modern generative AI, knowledge work is going to drastically change. Whether that change is for the better of an individual or a company depends on how we respond to these changes.
I believe the future of knowledge work in business has a drastically smaller set of craft skills, and that people overall will have more depth and specializations in these areas and generalized skills in other areas. Those three craft skills are:
- Prompt engineering -> Knowing how to get what you want from AI tools to get something done
- People skills and emotional intelligence -> Knowing yourself, and how to work well with people
- Customer domain experience -> Knowing deeply the desires and goals of your chosen customer
In the future, knowledge work will require more exceptional abilities in the three craft areas listed above than today. And I believe that it will require less or none of the craft skills that are currently the focus of our day to day work otherwise. My main focus has been on shifting the things the company talks about in the direction of these three craft areas.
To be successful as a company, we will need to enable our team to be effective in prompts, people and our domain. To be successful as an individual in a business focused on knowledge work is to be effective in the areas above. It isn’t clear whether this change will take 6 months or 2 years, but based on the pace that work shifted in the direction of permanent remote work during Covid, it seems likely that anything that can be done will in weeks or months, not years.