Business by the year 2050: Robot co-workers and four hour days?

Findings of a new report that looks even further into the future and predict how the world of work and business will look in 2050.

A report released today by Yell reveals a positive view on how businesses will look by the year 2050, thanks to a wave of new technologies including artificial intelligence, augmented reality and the internet of things.

The digital marketing services provider has partnered with acclaimed futurist and author James Wallman, to predict how certain changes in what has been dubbed ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ will affect small, or relatively new businesses.

The full report focuses on seven key trends predicted by James, including:

The cobot revolution

Instead of worrying about robots, we should be excited about ‘cobots’ — robots that are colleagues, designed to work collaboratively alongside humans. Machines will conduct more of the repetitive, routine tasks — from chopping and fetching to searching through libraries of information and making complex calculations. This means that humans will move further up the value chain and do the tasks that machines don’t do so well – those that require creativity, empathy and, simply, the human touch. As a result, ‘cobots’ will make us more productive, and happier at work.

The 4-hour work day

The current work day was set up to squeeze as much as possible out of workers when they performed routine tasks in factories and offices. Emerging research suggests that 8-hour days are a suboptimal way to work – the optimum is far closer to 4 hours per day. As robots and ‘cobots’ perform more of the routine tasks, humans will become more creative. And the best way to be creative is to work around four hours per day.

The reputation game

In an era of transparency, and heightened concerns about ethics and the environment, businesses are moving from a single-minded concern for profits, to a broader interest. Your priority is not only about running a successful business, but also people, our planet, purpose, and your performance. Your reputation — what you’re able to do and how you do it — will be ever more important in the future.

Following the rapid growth of digital and social media, Yell has transformed into a digital business – helping businesses and consumers be successful online and is committing to help a million businesses be found, chosen and trusted by more customers online by 2020.

Mark Clisby, product and marketing director at Yell says, “We’re living in a time of incredible change. Amongst the ‘cobots’ and shorter working days, the importance of reputation in the future really resonated with us. Because for any small business owner, the focus must be on the customer, no matter how advanced technology gets.”

“The next 30 years are set to be very exciting for us all. We look forward to continuing to help business owners and consumers to adapt to changing technologies, both now and in the future.”

Owen Gough

Owen Gough

Owen Gough is a reporter for He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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