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 […]

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 […]

Automation, AI and the future of jobs

Automation, AI and the future of jobs

Will automation, AI and robotics mean a jobless future, or will their productivity free us to innovate and explore? Is the impact of new technologies to be feared, or a chance to rethink the structure of our working lives and ensure a fairer future for all? On googling ‘will a robot take my job?’ I find myself on a BBC webpage that invites me to discover the likelihood that my work will be automated in the next 20 years. I type in ‘editor’. “It’s quite unlikely, eight per cent” comes back. Quite reassuring – but, coming from a farming […]

Protect Long Island’s economy in the age of automation

Protect Long Island’s economy in the age of automation

Change is coming — soon.

But will Long Island be ready?

Over the next decade or two, the region’s employment picture will undergo a significant transformation. Some jobs will disappear. Others will require very different skill sets. And there will be positions and industries that are only toddling now or are yet to be imagined.The Island has seen seismic shifts in its business landscape before. Too often, the region plays catch-up, confronting the fallout of a disappearing sector, like aerospace and defense, as it’s fading, or courting an industry, like biotech, years after it has sunk roots elsewhere.This time, Long Island […]

The future world of work is changing

The future world of work is changing

‘How can the learners and students of today ensure that they are prepared for future work roles that can’t yet even be clearly defined?’ asks the writer (John McCann) For most people, the year 2028 seems like the very distant future. But when you consider that 18 years have already passed since the prospect of a new millennium had the world in a panic over what would happen to their computers and data, the next 10 years are sure to fly by at a similarly eye-watering pace.

Although the number of days a year is never going to change, the […]

Making a case for artificial intelligence in the legal profession

Making a case for artificial intelligence in the legal profession

Automation can help – not hinder – a sector which still needs the human touch

“In the past year or so we’ve seen the legal market’s understanding of the strengths as well as limitations of AI mature in a very constructive way.” Did you hear the one about the affordable yet efficient human lawyer and its robot counterpart? One is complete myth and will never happen while the other might be just around the corner thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).

I couldn’t help myself. Everybody loves a silly lawyer joke but the joke may be on us because the lawyer […]

AI Is Less Of A Threat Than Some Suggest

AI Is Less Of A Threat Than Some Suggest

NTT Docomo 5G robot mirroring the operator’s movements doing calligraphy, during the Mobile World Congress day 3, on February 28, 2018 . (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images) While robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) promise great advances in productivity, mostly they seem to worry people. Commentators talk and write endlessly about how these marvelous technologies will steal jobs from both workers and the managerial class, creating a large unemployed population. If history has anything to say, however, and it does, such fears are not only exaggerated, they are off the mark entirely. Ultimately, AI will create more new […]

Why Artificial Intelligence Won’t Be as Bad—or as Good—as Everyone Thinks

Why Artificial Intelligence Won't Be as Bad—or as Good—as Everyone Thinks

The humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration by the German research centre for artificial intelligence at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover March, 5, 2013. The biggest fair of its kind open its doors to the public on March 5 and will run till March 9, 2013. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have fed two kinds of dreams, the first of the hopeful pleasant sort, and the other a nightmare. The first tells of great abundance, convenience and wealth. The other warns of job loss and widespread unemployment, among both […]

Quality, meaningful future work hinges on human-machine ‘complementarity’

Quality, meaningful future work hinges on human-machine 'complementarity'

Massage therapists, breathe easy. Robots won’t steal your job. They don’t have the empathy, manual dexterity or ability to ask the right questions. Radiologists, take notice . A tool wired with machine learning algorithms can easily interpret medical images using computer-aided diagnosis systems.

But there are 26 other tasks radiologists do that machines can’t do well, such as administering conscious sedation during procedures or developing treatment plans, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. He was sharing results of a study on tasks in various jobs that can be done well by machines, at the […]

On AI and Jobs, We Are All Augmentarians Now

On AI and Jobs, We Are All Augmentarians Now

Walmart’s Katie Finnegan onstage at Emtech Next For a couple of days this week, I attended the EmTech NEXT conference at MIT, which is organized by MIT Technology Review. The focus of the event was that fabled idea “The Future of Work,” and if you are on the side of the humans, the future seems pretty bright. Virtually every speaker (MIT folks, AI and robotics leaders) came out in favor of augmentation over automation. They say that AI and robots won’t take our jobs, but rather augment them by doing the things we humans don’t do so well.

I must […]