World Bank: Automation won’t lead to redundancy

Advances in automation, including increased use of artificial intelligence and robotics, are unlikely to lead to redundancy, according to a new report by the World Bank.

As the future of employment continues to change, The Changing Nature of Work report, notes that the increase of AI and automation has had a negligible impact on jobs at a global scale. 

When it comes to technology’s impact on the economy and the job market, many believe that the advancement of AI and automation will lead to people losing their jobs.

People working in the industrial sector have lost their jobs in advanced economies, but the rise of the “industrial sector in East Asia has more than compensated for this loss”.

World Bank: New job opportunities

Despite these fears and concerns, the report states that automation, robotics, AI and other emerging technologies, could create new job opportunities and the need for new skills.

“We know that robots are taking over thousands of routine tasks and will eliminate many low-skill jobs in advanced economies and developing countries,” said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group.

“At the same time, technology is creating opportunities, paving the way for new and altered jobs, increasing productivity, and improving the delivery of public services,” he added.

Instead of mastering low-level basic skills that can be completed by a robot, the report adds that employers will be looking to hire people with high cognitive and problem-solving skills.

The report adds that countries in the Middle East have begun implementing automation in several industries, particularly in the energy sector.

The UAE, for example, has a minster for artificial intelligence and state energy firms, such as Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, have begun using AI and big data to help find new hydrocarbon resources.

“High-skill university graduates currently make up almost 30% of the unemployed pool of labour in the Middle East and North Africa,” it said.

“Better adult learning opportunities enable those who have left school to re-skill according to changing labour market demands,” it added.

Social protection

As companies continue to adopt AI and automation in the workforce, governments should guarantee a universal level of social protection, the World Bank added.

“It can be done with the right reforms, such as ending unhelpful subsidies; improving labour market regulations; and, globally, overhauling taxation policies,” Jim Yong Kim said.

In August, the Bank of England’s chief economist, Andy Haldane, said the UK must re-skill its workforce to avoid rising numbers of “technology unemployed” people.

In July 2018, PWC forecasted that AI would pave the way for more job opportunities and will boost economic growth over the next two decades.

 

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