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“Society Should Adjust to Automation”

Automation of jobs is here to stay and society would better be served if it adapts, says experts. In their view, the march of technology cannot be stopped and society should be better prepared to harness its benefits. Workers who conduct routine tasks such as data collection and those that require physical exertion would easily be displaced by machines, according to James Manyika, Chairman of Mckinsey global Institute.

James Manyika

James Manyika

Some jobs would inevitable be replaced by machines, but that, according to him, would depend on the speed of adoption of technology which is determined by costs of deploying these technologies as well as the labour dynamics. The rate of technology adoption is expected to be slower in countries with cheaper labour compared to those are dear.

How do societies ensure social justice especially the protection of workers’ rights? Deborah Greenfield, Deputy Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) advocates for policies that would harness tools provided by technology and this, she notes, would involve dialogue between workers, companies and governments.

However, it is not all bad news for workers as there are opportunities, especially if new jobs are created and the development of other neglected sectors such as the caring economy which is undervalued.

Freelancers are already taking advantage of technology to their benefit and as such freelancing is growing; accounting for about 33 percent of all jobs in the United States, says Sarah Horowitz, Founder and CEO of Freelancers Union.

Building the jobs of the future, she notes, is not just about disrupting existing arrangements and structures but requires building new relationship andinstitutions that would benefit society.

Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup says the future of work is beyond technological disruption because the expectation of the youth from jobs has changed. Most, he asserts, need meaningful jobs and sadly most companies are not prepared for the expectation of the Youth.

By Osaze Omoragbon

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