Will robots take this job? Not bleepin’ likely

Will robots take this job? Not bleepin’ likely

Jared Nelson I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired in one direction or another, so I thought I’d see if I could find an online robot to handle my column-writing duty this week.

Unfortunately, there weren’t that many bots lined up to handle the task.

Sure, there were a few that seemed sort of promising, if I needed a story to just explain a bunch of numbers or compile some basic info on something that happened.But that’s not what this is about. This is about thinking, and feeling, and speculating, and dreaming, and putting all that into some kind of coherent form and […]

Obama: Tech Is Biggest Challenge To Employment But Also Africa’s Biggest Entrepreneurial Enabler

Obama: Tech Is Biggest Challenge To Employment But Also Africa's Biggest Entrepreneurial Enabler

Despite the advances it has enabled, technology is the biggest threat to employment, says former President Barack Obama.

Speaking at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg, he said economic forces and globalisation “powered by new technologies” helped the world in the last few decades prosper and “unleashed entrepreneurial talents”. He has previously praised how Africa has used technology, especially mobile, to be more innovative.

Giving his highest profile speech since he left politics, Obama used the occasion to its fullest in a stirring talk exemplifying the power of economic growth and globalisation to uplift people’s lives. But warned about the […]

Why automation is more than just a job killer

A new study by PwC suggests that AI and related technologies could result in minimal net job losses. But isn’t technology supposed to eliminate the need for human labour? How can automation occur and yet not make a dent in overall job numbers?

The answer is that automation comes in many guises. While the media is fixated on machines that substitute for humans, less attention is paid to those that augment labour. And seldom is it recognised that machines might in effect create tasks, doing work that was never done by a human previously.

At least four types of automation can […]

Is The Job Market As Good As It Was At The End Of The Clinton Administration?

Is The Job Market As Good As It Was At The End Of The Clinton Administration?

The U.S. economy is going strong nearly a decade after the Great Recession. The unemployment rate was 4.0 percent in June 2018, and fell even lower earlier in the year (3.8 percent in May 2018) before ticking up as new job seekers entered the labor force.

In fact, the job market is now better by numerous measures than it was before the Great Recession. Unemployment has only been at or below 4.0 percent twice since 1960: from 1966 to 1969, and during the economic boom at the end of the Clinton administration in 1999-2000.

Back then, on Jan. 7, 2000, Marketplace […]

No Robo-Apocalypse

No Robo-Apocalypse

It is now conventional wisdom to think that rapid automation and advances in artificial intelligence will eventually render most professions obsolete, ushering in an age of mass unemployment. But there is no economic law that says workers must lose out when new innovations are introduced.

DURHAM – The new Gilded Age is here. As the rich and powerful collect the most advanced technological gadgets, average workers are increasingly concerned about the “ rising tide of automation .”

There is plenty of fodder for a narrative about the inevitable large-scale displacement of workers by robots. Proliferating reports assert that technological unemployment will […]

Building an AI safety net

Artificial intelligence and related technologies will create as many jobs as they destroy in the UK over the next 20 years, according to PwC. The consultancy says its current forecasts suggest that the overall net effect of AI on UK jobs may be broadly neutral.

The economic sectors set to see the largest net increase in jobs due to AI over the coming two decades include health (+22%), professional, scientific and technical services (+16%) and education (+6%), according to PwC forecasts .

However, there’s bad employment news for others. The largest net long-term decreases in jobs will be in manufacturing (-25%), […]

Should you worry about automation taking your job? Yes!

Should you worry about automation taking your job? Yes!

Artificial intelligence continues to dominate the technology news. AI startups are blossoming like desert flowers after a spring rain. Venture capital continues to flow into these startups at a fantastic rate. There’s a lot of money being made, but what is the impact of AI on the economy as a whole? More importantly, what is the effect of increased automation on people’s jobs?

In the past, automation tended to affect blue-collar jobs, such as factory workers. This continues to be true, but the reach of AI is growing, which means even more manual labor is destined for automation. This will […]

An AI may kill your job, but it’ll also create millions more

An AI may kill your job, but it'll also create millions more

Artificial intelligence will create as many jobs as it displaces in the UK, but its impact will be felt disproportionately across different sectors, according to PwC research. According to the firm, AI is set to create 7.2 million jobs over the next 20 years, slightly more than the seven million predicted to be lost to automation.

However, the impact of new technologies won’t be felt evenly across all industries. Sectors like healthcare and education are set to benefit , whereas manufacturing and transport are estimated to see the largest decreases in jobs due to AI.

"People are understandably worried about the […]

From picking to pollinating, agribots are pushing farming into the future

From picking to pollinating, agribots are pushing farming into the future

A shiny, metallic one-armed robot wheels along the rows of red pepper plants, its video camera bobbing up and down to spot the ripened fruit. When it zeros-in on one, the arm, equipped with a gripper distantly resembling a human hand, stretches out and grasps the pepper, while a quick swish of a knife cuts it off the vine. The bot may not look like the elegant C-3PO from Star Wars , but don’t shrug it off as yet another dummy automation. This pepper-picker is a new breakthrough in modern engineering: a sophisticated AI-equipped machine, built by the leading […]

Think SA’s unemployment is bad now? Automation could kill another 4.5m jobs – expert

Think SA’s unemployment is bad now? Automation could kill another 4.5m jobs – expert

JOHANNESBURG — This article takes a rather realistic (and possibly even bleak) look at how 4IR tech, such as automation, could eliminate millions of jobs in South Africa. While I have no doubt that automation will create new jobs that we haven’t even heard of yet, what’s clear is that highly skilled workers will be able to adapt while low-skilled workers may find themselves unemployed in huge numbers. This will hit South Africa hard as our government has, quite frankly, failed in sufficiently skilling up the majority of the country’s population for the 21st Century. This article should serve […]