Several years ago, Canary Pete's political cartoon flooded email inboxes and social media pages. The humorous illustration showed a middle-aged executive walking into a typical job interview, with the exception that he had to build his own office chair (since he was applying to work at IKEA). Pete's satire might be short-lived, as last week the robotics industry achieved a new milestone – building an IKEA chair in less than 10 minutes! It is unclear how soon bots will be replacing human assemblers like TaskRabbit, but in the the words of Jackie DeChamps, Chief Operating Officer of IKEA USA,"We are always looking at ways we can innovate and help make our customers' lives at home easier." Addressing the elephant in the room, I debated a colleague earlier this month at The Frontier Conference in New Orleans.
Research by the World Economic Forum (WEF) has found that COVID-19 has caused the labour market to change faster than expected, and that by 2025, automation and a new division of labour between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs globally spanning 15 industry sectors and 26 economies. The Future of Jobs 2020 report also found that roles in areas such as data entry, accounting and administrative support are decreasing in demand as automation and digitization in the workplace increases. "More than 80% of business executives are accelerating plans to digitize work processes and deploy new technologies; and 50% of employers are expecting to accelerate the automation of some roles in their companies." "COVID-19 has accelerated the arrival of the future of work," said Saadia Zahidi, Manging Director at the WEF. "It's a double disruption scenario that presents another hurdle for workers in this difficult time. The window of opportunity for proactive management of this change is closing fast. Businesses, governments and workers must plan to urgently work together to implement a new vision for the global workforce."
Gartner says more than 3 million workers across the world will have a'robo boss' by 2018. High time businesses reorient skill development programs to help mid-level managers stay relevant. In July, the Vodafone-Idea merger was approved by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The mega deal will make the shareholders of both companies become part of the largest telecom company in India, and reward them in the future. It will also create a situation that can quickly escalate into a nightmare.
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND – When global leaders and captains of industry gathered in Davos last week for the 2018 World Economic Forum, AI and the economy of tomorrow dominated the discussions. Coupled with the launch of two new reports into the future of work at the summit, it is clear that AI and reskilling are already central considerations for policymakers and businesses alike.
According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) around 1.5 million jobs in England alone could be at risk from automation. Deloitte finds that over the next two decades, up to 35% of all jobs could be at high risk of being replaced by automated systems. If the rise of automation has the potential to impact millions of jobs, will workers want to adapt and learn new skills if their jobs are at risk? A two-year Commission on Workers and Technology is currently assessing the impact automation and artificial intelligence (AI) could have on the UK's workforce. Yvette Cooper MP, who is chair of the Commission, wrote in The Guardian: "Trades unions and communities can't just stand by and hope for the best. If we want technological change to benefit everyone rather than widening inequality, then we need to start preparing now."