Robots and us

Robots and us

Photo: Getty Images The robots are not at the gates and the future of work could be great, Kinley Salmon says. So why are others not so chipper? And what does Trump, Kaitangata and the demise of the middle class have to do with how we will live when automation takes over? Bruce Munro investigates.

In late-June, 1970, as Joyce Kempton stood in the fading light at the Balclutha bus stop waiting for her fiance, Sid Beck, to pick her up in his Mark II Zephyr, she was acutely aware of the air of concern pervading her hometown, Kaitangata.

Joyce […]

Most of America’s rural areas are doomed to decline

Most of America’s rural areas are doomed to decline

This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID highsm.13159. Since the Great Recession, most of the nation’s rural counties have struggled to recover lost jobs and retain their people. The story is markedly different in the nation’s largest urban communities.

I’m writing from Iowa, where every four years presidential hopefuls swoop in to test how voters might respond to their various ideas for fixing the country’s problems.

But what to do about rural economic and persistent population decline is the one area that has always confounded them all.The facts are […]

Opinion Bill Shorten’s promise of a living wage is both realistic and necessary. But it’s not enough

Opinion Bill Shorten's promise of a living wage is both realistic and necessary. But it's not enough

It ought to be possible to replace Australia’s minimum wage with a higher "living wage" without putting people our of work, but more will be needed. Opposition leader Bill Shorten will instruct the Fair Work Commission to replace the minimum wage with a higher “living wage” if Labor are elected to power. Image from Wikimedia/Matt Roberts, ABC. If elected, Labor has promised to ask the Fair Work Commission to substantially increase the minimum wage, at present pegged at A$18.93 per hour or $719.20 per week .

It says the intervention is justified because under current rules, the commission is required […]

The difference between a job and work

The difference between a job and work

Work satisfies a deeper urge than livelihood which, if denied, takes a significant political and social toll. AMONG the words that have infiltrated the vocabulary of common sense during the recent past, none is as egregious as ‘aspiration’. Its rampant use in the economic and political spheres has dented public awareness of reality. In the sphere of economics, in terms of both policies and propaganda, the use of ‘aspiration’ in various combinations and contexts has pushed aside common sense knowledge about life’s necessities. Things have come to a point where something as important as the need to work in […]

Bill Shorten’s promise of a living wage is both realistic and necessary. But it’s not enough.

Bill Shorten’s promise of a living wage is both realistic and necessary. But it’s not enough.

Today we kick off a four part election series on wages, industrial relations, Labor and the union movement. In the first, University of NSW professor Andreas Ortmann examines Labor’s proposal to have the Fair Work Commission award a so-called “living wage” instead of a minimum wage. You can read a comparison of Labor and the Coalition’s industrial relations policies here .

If elected, Labor has promised to ask the Fair Work Commission to substantially increase the minimum wage, at present pegged at A$18.93 per hour or $719.20 per week .

It says the intervention is justified because under current rules, […]

The difference between a job and work

Work satisfies a deeper urge than livelihood which, if denied, takes a significant political and social toll

Among the words that have infiltrated the vocabulary of common sense during the recent past, none is as egregious as ‘aspiration’. Its rampant use in the economic and political spheres has dented public awareness of reality. In the sphere of economics, in terms of both policies and propaganda, the use of ‘aspiration’ in various combinations and contexts has pushed aside common sense knowledge about life’s necessities. Things have come to a point where something as important as the need to work […]

The robots are not coming for your job. With a few exceptions

The robots are not coming for your job. With a few exceptions

Shoppers leave the Amazon Go store after checking out on January, 22 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) There are serious flaws in the theory that the ‘jobpocalypse’ is nigh, and technology is not about to replace New Zealand workers anytime soon, according to a new book.

‘Machines as ministers to man’, screams the US newspaper headline.

Apart from the slightly old-fashioned language, the banner could be describing the conventional modern wisdom that an army of new technologies is amassing on the fringes of the workplace ready to revolutionise human employment as we know it.It is in […]

The skills you need to learn to ensure yourself a job of the future

The skills you need to learn to ensure yourself a job of the future

Nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022 .

By 2030 experts expect that robots will replace 800 million jobs . So how do we, humans, protect ourselves from becoming completely obsolete?

Rather than focus on the negatives, maybe it is more useful to think about the skills we can build on rather than trying to directly compete with the machines.‘Predicting jobs of the future is fraught with difficulty,’ Dominic Atkinson, founder of startup Stay Nimble, tells Metro.co.uk.‘Our unique human qualities will really define jobs of the future. Our empathy, our […]

May Day and the march of the machines

May Day and the march of the machines

What Press Freedom’s For What should be utopia could become dystopian.

So Bloomberg reports that “almost half of all jobs could be wiped out or radically altered in the next two decades due to automation.”

And these “changes in employment will hit some workers more than others — particularly young people with lower levels of education and women who are more likely to be under-employed and working in low paid jobs” (“Automation Could Wipe Out Almost Half of All Jobs in 20 Years,” 25 April 2019).To the glee of some, the “hit” includes the legal profession. The World Economic Forum (“This […]

Govt’s TVET push to brace for IR4.0 — Joshua Liew

Govt’s TVET push to brace for IR4.0 — Joshua Liew

MAY 1 — I am gratified to learn that the government has woken up to the importance of technical and vocational education training (TVET) as Malaysia moves towards a knowledge-based economy. Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran hit the nail on the head when he said TVET education ought to be the preferred choice among students and parents.

His directive to technical and vocational institutes to conduct night classes is also laudable. This will allow more working adults to upskill, when previously they could not due to working commitments.

With the after-office hours classes, working adults will be able to not just […]