The challenge: creating a better future of work

The challenge: creating a better future of work

The future of work — how can we shape it? Many fear that artificial intelligence and robots will take over factory floors, warehouses and even white-collar offices, laying waste to millions of low-skill jobs, herding workers into never-ending “upskilling” courses or gig jobs with no benefits.

But these negative effects of automation are not inevitable. Even low-paid, dull and demanding jobs can become good jobs when we put the right set of policies and rules in place. The failure to ensure that everyone in California benefits from its unprecedented wealth calls for a new agenda to improve jobs and promote […]

‘Wealth work’ captures only part of the stark jobs divide

‘Wealth work’ captures only part of the stark jobs divide

The Digital Gilded Age would seem to be producing its own version of “the help” that tended to the wealthy during the American Gilded Age of the late 19th century, or the estates of Britain at the Empire’s zenith.

Think of it as Downton Abbey without the snazzy period costumes, or getting to live in the baronial manor, or having paternalistic aristocrats occasionally reward the loyalty of those “in service.”

That, at least, is the impression one might get from a recent story by Christopher Rugaber of The Associated Press.“One of the fastest-growing job categories of the past decade has been […]

Overlooked on economy? Rising paychecks for blue-collar workers are shrinking the wage gap

Overlooked on economy? Rising paychecks for blue-collar workers are shrinking the wage gap

We need more emphasis on blue-collar trades. There’s more than one path to a solid paycheck, especially given demographic and workplace trends.

Monthly reports on the number of new jobs and the unemployment rate can drown out important trends like these two: After four decades of worsening, wage inequality has started shrinking. And in a twist, America’s blue-collar workers are playing the biggest role in driving that reversal.

This may come as a surprise, because education is classically seen as a ladder up the income scale . Despite blue-collar workers often lacking college degrees , their wages have been accelerating […]

Can fake economies create real jobs? EVE Online CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson talks cryptocurrency, blockchain

Can fake economies create real jobs? EVE Online CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson talks cryptocurrency, blockchain

Image: Supplied There’s never been a better time to try to build a perpetual jobs machine.

There are currently about 13 million working people in Australia, and an estimated 3 million jobs set to be lost to automation by 2030 .

Over in the USA, democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has warned that automation will continue improving efficiency, cutting costs, killing jobs and hollowing out the economic backbone of America, starting from the centre of the country and moving outwards. His plank is a universal basic income (UBI) scheme to counter the impending tidal wave of mass unemployment.In addition to […]

Technology may not create inequality, but it certainly enables it to thrive

Technology may not create inequality, but it certainly enables it to thrive

Here is one of the great paradoxes of our time. The world is dominated by a few corporations that are among the most profitable companies in the history of capitalism. In the US (the home of these giants) and in the UK (an enthusiastic vassal state), parts of the economy are booming and employment is at record levels. And yet, in the middle of this astonishing prosperity, inequality is at levels not seen since the period before the first world war . In the US, the share of total income going to the top 1% of the population is […]

Like previous technological innovation, AI and automation promises increased productivity, higher wages, and even longer lifespans for everyone. But gaining this potential will require development and diffusion of these technologies carefully

Like previous technological innovation, AI and automation promises increased productivity, higher wages, and even longer lifespans for everyone. But gaining this potential will require development and diffusion of these technologies carefully

By Christopher Pissarides and Jacques Bughin

Public discussion of the effects of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) often focuses on the productivity benefits for companies and the economy, on the one hand, and on the potential downside for workers, on the other. Yet there is a critical third dimension that should not be overlooked: the impact of new technologies on wellbeing.

Historically, technological innovation has had positive effects on wellbeing extending far beyond what is captured by standard economic metrics such as GDP. Vaccinations, new pharmaceuticals, and medical innovations such as X-rays and MRIs have vastly improved human health and […]

Don’t Squander the Techno-Revolution

Don’t Squander the Techno-Revolution

Getty Images Like past waves of technological innovation, the new era of artificial intelligence and automation promises increased productivity, higher wages, and even longer lifespans for everyone. But realizing this potential will require governments and businesses to manage the development and diffusion of frontier technologies carefully.

LONDON – Public discussion of the effects of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) often focuses on the productivity benefits for companies and the economy, on the one hand, and on the potential downside for workers, on the other. Yet there is a critical third dimension that should not be overlooked: the impact of new […]

Higher Productivity Is Good for Workers

Higher Productivity Is Good for Workers

(Ralph Orlowski/REUTERS) For most of our history Americans have supported increased productivity, even if it led to economic disruption and worker displacement. Unfortunately, over the last decade that support has weakened. Productivity gains are now portrayed as a tool for greedy corporations to jack up their profits at the expense of workers. Moreover, workers are now seen as so fragile that all automation must be feared. So, rather than support productivity, the dominant narrative favors redistribution and protection from change.

The emergence of this new “productivity doesn’t benefit workers” narrative matters because government policies in a wide array of areas […]

A New, Higher Minimum Wage Hurts Everyone

A New, Higher Minimum Wage Hurts Everyone

(Tethysimagingllc/Dreamstime.com) The House just recently passed the Wage Act to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. In the midst of their self-congratulatory back slapping, comments like "it’s an important step towards creating an economy that works for everyone" were tossed around. But is that statement true?

Yes, it is true that surviving on $8 or $9, or even $10 an hour, particularly in expensive metropolitan areas like New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, is difficult if not impossible. But raising the minimum wage is not going to provide a pathway out of poverty for workers making so […]

Are Robots Coming for Our Jobs? Careful, It’s a Trick Question

Are Robots Coming for Our Jobs? Careful, It’s a Trick Question

The robots are coming, and they’ll probably take your job when they get here.

Oh wait—have you heard that recently? As recently as, say, yesterday? In the news, or from a coworker, or in a sinister dystopian movie, maybe?

Sounding the alarm about job losses to automation has become commonplace—in fact, it’s more of a nonstop siren these days. Multiple Democratic presidential candidates are featuring their plans to combat Big Tech and solve technological unemployment as talking points of their campaigns. Dread of a robot-dominated future is mounting.One of the most widely-referenced and panic-inducing figures on the topic came from a […]