How the modern workplace is changing around the world

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Technology and automation are changing the way we work, disrupting everything from factory jobs to traditional espionage. But such ruptures are not new. If you look back to the last century, Rhys Dubin wrote in 2018, “it is quickly becoming clear that…rapid technological change and disruption have long been the rule.”

This edition of Flash Points features essays exploring the nature and history of the modern workplace, from the office culture of the Pentagon to the interns who run Washington’s foreign policy apparatus to the jobs that could be transformed by artificial intelligence in the years to come.Chloe Hadavas

A stable career does not exist

Job insecurity has always been a reality. Just ask chimney sweeps, readers and telephone operators, writes Rhys Dubin.

Technology and automation are changing the way we work, disrupting everything from factory jobs to traditional espionage. But such ruptures are not new. If you look back to the last century, Rhys Dubin wrote in 2018, “it is quickly becoming clear that…rapid technological change and disruption have long been the rule.”

This edition of Flash Points features essays exploring the nature and history of the modern workplace, from the office culture of the Pentagon to the interns who run Washington’s foreign policy apparatus to the jobs that could be transformed by artificial intelligence in the years to come.Chloe Hadavas



Women are seen from the side, operating a switchboard, in a black and white photo.

Women operate a standard.Bettmann/Getty Images

A stable career does not exist

Job insecurity has always been a reality. Just ask chimney sweeps, readers and telephone operators, writes Rhys Dubin.



The Pentagon is seen from the sky above Washington, DC, August 25, 2013.

The Pentagon is seen from the sky above Washington, DC, August 25, 2013.

The Pentagon is seen from the sky above Washington, DC, August 25, 2013. Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The culture of the Pentagon office is blocked in 1968

America’s national security bureaucracy needs a severe overhaul, write Zachery Tyson Brown and Kathleen J. McInnis.





Matt Chase ILLUSTRATION FOR FOREIGN POLICY

Washington runs on interns

So why are most of them not paid enough and some not paid at all? FP’s Robbie Gramer and Anna Weber report Washington’s open secret.



Then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets a robot next to then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as they visit the IBG Automation booth during the Hannover Messe technology fair in Hannover, Germany, on April 23, 2018.

Then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets a robot next to then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as they visit the IBG Automation booth during the Hannover Messe technology fair in Hannover, Germany, on April 23, 2018.

Then-German Chancellor Angela Merkel greets a robot next to then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as they visit the IBG Automation booth during the Hannover Messe technology fair in Hannover, Germany, on April 23, 2018.Tobias Schwarz/AFP/Getty Images

Learn to work with robots

Artificial intelligence will change everything. Workers must adapt or else, writes Molly Kinder.





ILLUSTRATION BY DELCAN & COMPAGNIE

The spy revolution

Technological, political and commercial changes are all transforming espionage. Intelligence agencies must adapt or risk being irrelevant, writes Edward Lucas.

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