The good life after work

The good life after work

To manage the latest wave of automation, we must have ends that are more compelling than merely wanting more products and services. Robert Skidelsky Almost all ‘robots are coming’ stories follow a tried-and-true pattern. ‘Shop Direct puts 2,000 UK jobs at risk’ screams a typical headline . Then, quoting from authoritative reports from prestigious institutes and think tanks, the article in question usually alarms audiences with extravagant estimates of ‘jobs at risk’—that is, percentages of workers whose livelihoods are threatened by high-tech automation. To quote another representative example : ‘A new report suggests that the marriage of [artificial intelligence] […]

Workers should fear “so-so” innovations the most of all

After what was perhaps the biggest technological revolution in human history, workers ended up better off overall, even though many lost their jobs. This is something to keep in mind when considering the future of work.

In the 19th century and early 20th century, improvements in plows, tractors, and combine harvesters put millions of farmworkers out of a job. In the US, the number of people working agriculture fell from about 12 million in 1900 to just over 3 million in 1970 , even as the total population almost tripled over that time. (Most other rich nations followed a similar […]

White House 2019 economic report puts a shine on AI and its meaning for the future of work: Top takeaways

White House 2019 economic report puts a shine on AI and its meaning for the future of work: Top takeaways

Policy makers are asked to worry deeply about how workers will deal with the costs of reskilling if they aren’t paid for the duration of the reskilling period or their wages aren’t enough to pay the tuition. Artificial intelligence

Donald Trump

Future of Work Jobs Machine Learning Reskilling Tech on Capitol Hill Upskilling White House This article is part of new series ➝ Tech on Capitol Hill. The White House has put a brand new shine on its artificial intelligence (AI) game devoting 42 pages of its latest annual economic […]

Amazon’s New Robot Can Pack More Than 600 Boxes Per Hour

Amazon’s New Robot Can Pack More Than 600 Boxes Per Hour

Amazon has installed new robots in its facilities that can pack hundreds of objects per hour and has considered rolling the technology out across its factories. The robots can wrap packages inside boxes it custom-assembles to fit each item. While the robots cost over a million dollars each, Amazon expects to recover the costs within two years.

A new report claims that Amazon has considered rolling out the machines at dozens of warehouses, removing an estimated 24 positions with each rollout. Reuters notes that Amazon is interested in cutting humans out of the warehouse process altogether to save on labor […]

Maybe the robot will do you a favor and snatch your job

Maybe the robot will do you a favor and snatch your job

Recently, Amazon floated the idea that it would be fully automated in a decade: Not all of the 125,000 people who work at Amazon warehouses have to worry about losing their jobs to robots — not for 10 years or so, anyways.

On Tuesday, Scott Anderson, director of Amazon Robotics Fulfillment, led reporters on a tour of the company’s Baltimore warehouse during which he said it would be “at least 10 years” before Amazon could entirely automate the fulfillment process. When we read further into the story, of course, we find it’s not so simple. Robots are especially bad […]

Mining jobs are gone and won’t come back

Mining jobs are gone and won’t come back

About 2,100 mine workers are going to lose jobs following the announcement by Mopani Copper Mines to close its Mindolo North and Central shafts in Kitwe.
According to MUZ president Joseph Chewe 600 direct Mopani employees would lose jobs as a result while 1,500 workers employed by contractors will also lose jobs.
“It’s a worrisome trend which has now engulfed Mopani. Retrenchment is coming day-by-day. If you look at the lifespan of Mopani, the last 19 years, they have offloaded quite a huge number into the streets so they must be responsible not to always to cause misery to […]

Robotics boom to lead to economic inequality across Southeast Asia

Robotics boom to lead to economic inequality across Southeast Asia

Author and futurist Martin Ford has warned AI adoption will not only result in job losses but economic equality.

Speaking about advances in technologies across Southeast Asia, Ford said:

"One main danger of advanced technology adoption across Southeast Asia is economic inequality and perhaps unemployment or underemployment for some groups of workers. The implications of advancing automation technology is that capital captures more income relative to labor. This means that a few very wealthy people who already own a lot of capital are likely to become even richer, while average workers who own nothing but the value of their own labor […]

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 […]

The automation delusion: why robots aren’t the biggest threat to your job

The automation delusion: why robots aren’t the biggest threat to your job

Shoppers admiring a fortune-telling robot at Selfridges, London 1934 Hide the batteries, unplug the router, learn to code: if there’s a truth universally acknowledged, it’s that robots are coming for your job. According to this familiar story, our economic future will be one of mass unemployment. Automatons will inevitably take the place of human workers. These robotic employees won’t complain, suffer fatigue, or unionise.

The new robots will be “white collar” predicts Richard Baldwin, author of the recently published Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work. (“Globotics” is a clunky portmanteau of “globalisation” and “robotics”.) Western professionals, no […]

In an AI future, creativity will save your job: Amber Rudd

In an AI future, creativity will save your job: Amber Rudd

The automation revolution means jobs of the future will require “human sensibilities” such as creativity and personal relationships, work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd has said.

Speaking at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, she made the case for embracing artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in the workplace.

“Automation is driving the decline of banal and repetitive tasks,” she said. “So the jobs of the future are increasingly likely to be those that need human sensibilities, with personal relationships, qualitative judgement and creativity coming to the fore.”However, Rudd conceded there will be challenges ahead in an AI future.“Globalisation is expanding the supply […]