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When my daughter Yara enters the workforce in 15 years, AI will have transformed the way we work in ways most of us can't imagine. While I can't argue with some of the doomsday predictions about the end of work, last weekend, I saw a glimmer of hope in some of the brilliant solutions shaping the future of work.
This year's Work of the Future Solver teams selected at Solve Challenge Finals include eight startups pushing towards a future of work that embraces both technology and humanity. These startups give us hope for a more equitable future. Here are five reasons why:
1. Work of the future will be fair to migrants.
Contratados.org empowers migrant workers to make informed choices by exposing workplace abuses.
2. It will help factory workers transition into digital jobs.
3. It will be accessible to marginalized workers.
Lynk provides entrepreneurship services for informal workers in Kenya, Plastics for Change creates fair trade for wastepickers in India via an ethical sourcing platform, and Apli uses an AI-powered marketplace to connect underemployed workers with unfilled shifts.
4. It will help all workers become data literate.
Refactored.ai provides an AI-powered solution to teach data tools and techniques to workers at any skill level.
5. It will embrace diversity in all its forms.
ULTRA is proving that neurodiversity can be a competitive advantage, and redesigning the workplace so that everyone, no matter how we're wired, can have a fair shot at success.
In addition to tackling Work of the Future, this year's Solve Challenges included some of the most pressing issues of our time: Coastal Communities, Frontlines of Health, and Teachers & Educators. The selected Solver teams provide a window into the incredible breadth and depth of startups around the world tackling these important issues at scale.
As a member of the ULTRA team, it's a privilege to share our journey with such an incredible group of peers. As a parent of a 6-year-old, it's a relief to know that we have the smartest people in the room, solving the the world's hardest problems.
Rajesh Anandan pitches ULTRA during the Work of the Future session at Solve Challenge Finals, September 23, 2018. (Photo: Adam Schultz / MIT Solve)