Most people (73%) are confident that 3D printing will become an integral part of our everyday working lives, followed by data goggles (59%) and drones (43%). Those surveyed were, though, more skeptical when it came to service robots (23%) and digital counterparts, such as intelligent clones and virtual avatars (13%). More than two thirds of the IT experts questioned on the workplace of the future by Bitkom Research on behalf of personnel service provider Etengo believe that desktop PCs and notebooks, on the other hand, will be obsolete in 30 years at the latest. PCs will be replaced by, for example, tablets or smartphones with projection functions or 100% voice control.
The new technologies will not only have an impact on offices, but also on the labor market, according to a further finding of the survey, with 45% presuming that the demand for freelance IT specialists will rise and just 5% predicting decreased demand. Bitkom Research states that "freelance IT specialists are currently a vital commodity for around three quarters of all companies" – a ballpark figure confirmed by other sources . It would, however, appear that the need for such freelancers is not as high as previously the case in smaller companies and for service providers.
The Cologne Institute for Economic Research (IW) has also been pondering the working world of the future and given the all-clear: In a study published in October 2016, the author Oliver Stettes came to the conclusion that the "to some extent hysterical public debate on the potentially negative consequences of digitization on employment and employees" was in striking contrast to the current empirical reality.