Thursday, October 22, 2020

Robots will take our jobs. Is this a good or bad?

Futurist and Chief Technology Adviser to the Future World Global, Doug Vining is a man who asks big probing questions that he also doesn’t pretend to know the answers to. He is however cognisant of the fact that the world is changing at a whirlwind pace. In that regard, Vining uses lessons from the future to offer insight into how to understand the changing world. 

“The big question is, what time is it and what are we doing about it? The answer is, it’s after midnight and most of us are still sleeping,” he asserts.

Vining was recently invited by Deloitte to start dialogue on embracing the radical implications of a changing business landscape with local industry titans. The initiative was part of Deloitte’s broader intent to champion leadership in continuous change under sustainable development. 

“Technology is one of the great drivers of change,” Vining pronounced. 

He delivered pockets of insight which sought to drive home the point that in a world that is increasingly and resolutely becoming technologically connected, businesses must adopt a new mindset of tomorrow’s way of doing business. He explained that businesses of tomorrow ask questions such as why? imagine if? what if? This assertion sought to point out that progressive businesses must look far and beyond the traditional fundamental business principles. 

While he acknowledged the pressures that market forces continue to exert on businesses, Vining also recognized that the unfolding dynamics also create an opportunity for exponential growth. Innovation, he proclaimed, is what will take businesses to the next level. 

“If a business wants to know if it is onto something big, the idea can be subject to three questions being: Is it disruptive? Is it exponential? Is it inspirational? If the idea ticks all the boxes, it could be a potential growth trajectory,” said Vining.

It is irrefutable that a new reality is emerging in the workplace and that changes are constantly taking place. Automation is surging in the business landscape, a simple case of robots taking people’s jobs. The good news is that businesses will save money. The bad news is that jobs will be lost to automation.  According to Vining, the winners will be those who rise to the challenge; and the losers those who try to stop the tide and threaten to burn the robots. The question then becomes: How can people prepare themselves for jobs that don’t exist yet? Vining described its answer as ‘ambiguous,’ positing that the trends will without a doubt have an impact.

“It is necessary to ask what we are going to do about it if it happens. The short end of this is that there is no job or basic skill that is robot proof,” said Vining.

A recent report, published under the World Economic Forum (WEF) boldly asks the pertinent question: “What happens when robots take our jobs?”…which is a new paradigm described as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The risk we are facing in the near future is mass unemployment for some categories of workers, combined with lack of skills in other categories ÔÇô and the political and social implications of such imbalances. Will companies, individuals, governments and society at large (including educational systems and social safety nets) be able to adapt quickly enough to this new paradigm and create an environment in which all can contribute? The report proposes that for this to happen, all parties will need to collaborate in order to invent a systemic, social and sustainable model for a better future of work.

 

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