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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Productivity Remains as Paradoxical as Ever, Despite Digital Transformation

Productivity Remains as Paradoxical as Ever, Despite Digital Transformation

The evolution of the future of work looks a lot like the past, but probably with more Uber and Deliveroo drivers, at least if you believe the Productivity Commission. In fact, it turns automation might not be the harbinger of the great employment apocalypse after all, despite a plethora of commentary and dystopian angst to the contrary.

Instead, the evidence of the last hundred years suggests that labour markets have been pretty well resilient to ‘shocks’ posed by new technologies including the upheavals caused by the arrivals of the latest global digital giants.

That’s the view of the Deputy Chair of […]

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 […]

Fewer Israeli Arab Men Have Jobs – and Wage Growth Has Stalled

Fewer Israeli Arab Men Have Jobs – and Wage Growth Has Stalled

File photo: An Israel-Arab construction worker near Ma’aleh Adumim. For years Israeli policy makers have focused with some success on coaxing ultra-Orthodox men and Arab women into the workforce. But as research from the Israel Democracy Institute shows, fewer and fewer Arab men have jobs and their wage growth is lagging behind other Israelis.

And the problem, says Eitan Regev, an economist and a research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, is likely to worsen as the needs of Israel’s high-tech economy diverge from the kind of jobs Israeli Arab men can perform because of their low education levels.

Among Jewish […]

AI and robotics forecast to generate 7.2 million jobs

AI and robotics forecast to generate 7.2 million jobs

A new report by PwC found that employees fear robots will replace them and artificial intelligence (AI) could, in fact, create as many jobs as it displaces.

According to the report, 7.2 million jobs could be created over the next 20 years, a slight edge on the 7 million job losses also predicted in the report.

“Artificial intelligence is a relatively new technology, and this unfamiliarity can cause people to feel uncertain about it. There is a massive wealth of opportunity with the implementation of Artificial Intelligence in terms of the jobs it will create, but there is also the need […]