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 […]

With changes in education and fair wages, technology can be a worker’s friend

With changes in education and fair wages, technology can be a worker’s friend

In a speech in Perth to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Karen Chester, the deputy chair of the Productivity Commission, has provided a bit of pushback on the doom and gloom scenarios about the future of work. But that does not mean things will all go smoothly. Chester argues for changes to education and greater incentives to move into work not able to be automated to ensure technology provides “not just more jobs but jobs for most”.

The easy headline – especially given numerous recent studies such as those done by the IMF – is to be fearful […]

AI will force millions to switch careers over the next two decades: PwC

AI will force millions to switch careers over the next two decades: PwC

AI will not result in large-scale unemployment, but it will force millions to retrain and switch careers over the next 20 years, according to a report by PwC.

The report found that AI will create around the same number of jobs as it destroys, dismissing previous fears that it would lead to rampant unemployment. However, it also found that there will be “winners” and “losers”, with some industries seeing significant decline in jobs while others will see a rise.

“Major new technologies, from steam engines to computers, displace some existing jobs but also generate large productivity gains,” […]

Nicholas Carr was right IT died, but was resurrected

Nicholas Carr was right IT died, but was resurrected

Some wounds cut so deep to the heart of one’s identity as a professional, that they never completely heal. Instead, they fester for years and occasionally reopen by random bits of news. By that measure, Nicholas Carr cut into the heart of IT professionals in his seminal paper, IT Doesn’t Matter , arguing that IT had become commodified to the point that it offered little competitive advantage.

Carr was less overtly confrontational in his subsequent book , where he (or his editors) attempted to assuage professional sensitivities by turning the statement into a question. However his fundamental thesis was unchanged […]

RPA Leader Automation Anywhere & Its Historic $1.8 Billion Valuation

RPA Leader Automation Anywhere & Its Historic $1.8 Billion Valuation

Robotic Arm production lines modern industrial technology. Automated production cell. After 15 years of being in the industry and curating some of the best products in robotic automation space, when this California-based RPA company raised $250 million in a fundraising round, it gained major traction for all the right reasons. This was the first ever funding that the company has raised in 15 years and secondly, it set total valuation of the company at a whopping $1.8 billion! What Is Automation Anywhere?

Providing a platform to organisations to build world-class intelligent digital workforces, Automation Anywhere’s enterprise-grade platform uses software […]

Contrary to popular wisdom, automation is not a job killer in U.S. manufacturing

Contrary to popular wisdom, automation is not a job killer in U.S. manufacturing

Most economists oppose President Trump’s trade policies. As I recently argued on this page , it’s not just that he won’t help those hurt by trade. Now, with his sweeping tariffs and escalating trade war, he’s going to hurt those helped by it.

But just because he’s got the solution wrong doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. Under the assumption that the political pendulum will eventually swing back and very different policymakers will be in charge, what is the policy set that would both tap the benefits of globalization and ameliorate its downside?

One key plank in that platform should be […]

The Impact of Technology on East Asian Economic Prospects

The Impact of Technology on East Asian Economic Prospects

Technology As ASEAN+3 economies pursue growth and resilience a decade after the onset of the global financial crisis, one question looms large: Is technology a boon or bane for these states?

The most advanced economies, such as Japan, Korea, and Singapore, are better-positioned than the rest of the region to face the challenges posed by technology. However, the impact of technology on growth and employment does not materialize in isolation. Rather, it manifests itself in interactions with ongoing changes in the nature of cross-border production and trade and shifts in demographics.

The technology-related challenges that emerge for economies across the region […]

Advancements in technology today reminiscent of 1960s sci-fi films’ vision of the future

Advancements in technology today reminiscent of 1960s sci-fi films’ vision of the future

THE 1960s vision of the future had us all living on lunar plantations and flying to work in spaceships.

Productions like 2001: A Space Odyssey and even the Jetsons displayed the nerdy fascination with the yet-to-come that was so prevalent at the time. 10 Film still from Stanley Kubrick’s Space Odyssey: 2001 Most of it was escapism, and by and large people preferred to focus on getting by day to day and to let the future take care of itself.

But it wasn’t all about space and aliens. Sci-fi writers including Isaac Asimov and Arthur C Clarke dreamed up fantastical worlds […]

Zoe Clapp: AI will not replace us, it will allow us to focus on what matters

Zoe Clapp: AI will not replace us, it will allow us to focus on what matters

I visited the ‘Age of Amazement’ TED conference in Vancouver earlier this year. The conference sees influential thinkers and investors gather in Vancouver to speculate on the future and share thoughts on things that seem right at the edge of current possibility.

Speakers included Kai-Fu Lee, president of Google in China until 2009 and now a venture capitalist. Lee predicted half of all jobs worldwide will be “lost to AI” in the next decade. But he didn’t paint this as a jobs crisis. Instead he views it as a way to secure a better future where people enjoy rewarding jobs […]