There's only one way men will survive in an automated future

Donald Trump got elected because the automation revolution and the rise of the creative economy made blokes mad.

Seriously. There's a direct line that can be drawn between the inexplicable popularity of politicians who are clearly dangerous and the sudden disappearance of good, honest, working class jobs.

Please explain? Okay. Ten thousand years ago there were three jobs – hunting, gathering and procreation. (Personally, I'd have signed up for the procreation. The hunting seems dangerous and the gathering, boring.)

Now, we're on the edge of a revolution as profound as the industrial, which took hundreds of years. The automation revolution could take as little as 15 years, maybe less, .

Yep, that's about as scary as it sounds.

The creative future

To be employable in the future, you'll have to be creative, or work in an industry that requires a unique human touch. Jobs like fitting and turning, driving trucks, factory work, electrical engineering are disappearing like the truth in an election campaign.

It is this loss of jobs-for-life in traditionally male-dominated fields that's making men so angry, a bleak reality recently  Who nicked my job, lifestyle and self-respect? "They" did. What do I do when I'm angry? I lash out. Voting for the psycho-right is a big uppercut for the system, a middle finger to the man.

It's not going to make any difference, and now, whoops, Donald Trump is president-elect and Pauline Hanson is out there fingering coral to deny climate change. Somewhat ironically, in a post-factual world, critical thinking will be a key currency. The .

Machine man

The machines are already better than us at data, diagnostics and analysis. They will build the product, write the code and organise the supply chain. But those are just channels through which we can get on with the real business of expressing our creativity and entrepreneurship. Machines are great at logic, but crap at genuine creativity. They can make bread but they can't do circuses.


A man who knows all about circuses, Yaron Lifschitz, CEO of Brisbane-based circus, Circa, flayed the room last week in Sydney with a at a Currency House Creativity and Business Breakfast.

"Art lifts our species, puts us in touch with our gods, encodes our memories and harnesses the collective imagination in service of our possibilities. The act of making art is inherently hopeful," he said. A machine couldn't have written that wonderful sentence and, unfortunately, neither could I.

A chance to evolve

But don't be scared. This is an opportunity. It will set us free to think, dream and create instead of spending eight hours a day on a diesel forklift.

Now, a single individual can think up and create a cool thing that makes the world a better place on a 3-D printer. There's even one where I work. If I miss the bus I'll just print out a car and drive home ... I think that's how it goes.

One will be able to do what corporations used to. Bots will help creative with design, source components, create manufacturing processes and supply chains, run your marketing (they can already like stuff on Instagram for you), sort your finance – all the tedious stuff.

An artificial intelligence doesn't need to see an ad. It will find the best product you're looking for, even if it's produced by a 14-year-old in his dad's shed in China.

The future is a place where the only currency is the thing that makes us unique and human – creativity.

The revolution will not only be televised, it will carefully curate your personalised content on all your devices, so you don't miss a thing.

With more than 25 years in Australian media, Phil Barker has edited NW and Woman's Day magazines, and published such titles as Vogue, GQ, Delicious, InsideOut and Donna Hay. He is a creative director, brand and communications specialist and currently consulting as Head of Communications at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). He is a regular commentator on the life and style of Australian men.