IQ and Creativity Bias in a Post-work World

I think the post-work world is going to heavily favor those with high IQs, and I think this could be a major factor in the social tensions that will arise due to economic stresses.

IQ isn’t magical. It doesn’t guarantee success. But it does predict success, and I think the biggest reason for that is being flexible in new environments and situations.

And that’s precisely what will be needed when 25%, 50%, and 75% of work gets consumed by automation, machine learning, and robots. It’s not just a blue-collar problem; it’s a workforce problem. Investment bankers are being replaced by machine learning, accountants are being replaced by IBM Watson, and this is just the very beginning.

So who survives? Who finds a way to make money in this type of environment?

I think smart people do. Smart and creative.

It’s people who figure out quickly that they need to have a brand, to broadcast themselves, their many different skillets, to promote that package, market it, and ensure that you do good work to keep your reputation scores up.

You could be a programmer, a designer, a dog-sitter, or…whatever. The point is that companies will be firing employees on a massive scale. We seem to have forgotten that they exist to serve customers, not to employ people, and that they will shed every single employee they can in order to achieve that goal.

So what’s left is what individuals can market of themselves, and I think the key will be how well you can broadcast your abilities to others. Expect to see platforms emerge that serve influencers in this purpose. They’ll magnify them, find audiences, monetize audiences through micropayment and subscriptions, etc.

So, being an influencer is the future of work. Everyone becomes a mini Tony Robbins pushing their own services, regardless of what industry you’re in.

IQ is great for this. Creativity is great for this. Strong writing skills are great for this. Grit is great for this. These are the new attributes for success in a world where your payment comes from the quality of your output multiplied by how well you present yourself to the world.

People without IQ or creativity—which are often highly correlated—are going to be especially displaced and marginalized by the changes that are coming. And they’re going to be angry, vocal, and eventually violent.

Basic Income will help in the long-term, but there will be a significant gap between when we realize Basic Income is needed and when we can practically implement such a system at scale.

In the meantime expect those with the IQ and creativity to rise to the top and make a decent living, while the bottom 75-95% struggle mightily.

If you want to prepare young people for what’s coming, prepare them to market themselves as individuals. What are their core skills? Core attributes? Core messages. Core value propositions. If they can’t articulate those things, or don’t have anything to articulate, they will get left behind.

This is the future of work, and the smarter and more creative you are the better your chances to survive.


  1. Another set of skills that will play well here are personality and physical attractiveness. Being super good looking, or funny, or good at performing in some way will be extremely marketable in this new economy, and we’re seeing this type of thing already in YouTube stars, etc. That’s not a fad; it’s the future of personal productivity.


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