04-04-2016

The marriage between BIG DATA and robotisation herald a new economy and, hence, a new world of work

di Eleonora Cavazzoni, Classe A The impact of the 4th industrial revolution will have repercussions in these four areas: Job creation, Job change, Job destruction, Job shift. Those elements will create a proliferation of a new class of “digital galley slaves”.
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di Eleonora Cavazzoni, Classe A The impact of the  4th industrial revolution will have repercussions in these four areas:

  • Job creation: new sectors, products and services
  • Job change: digitalization, human – intelligent machine interfaces, new forms of workers
  • Job destruction: risk of computerization, automation and robotisation
  • Job shift: relocation of services facilitated by certain platforms of the “sharing economy”.
Those elements will create a proliferation of a new class of “digital galley slaves”. An interesting challenge that gets politics involved in every different shade is the education of new kind of workers. The future of Europe is about the organization of a new appropriate school and university system. This will bring us to innovative professions highly qualified, able to compete with a technology that does not stop and does not wait the politicians’ time. Robotisation is not just imagination or science fiction: It’s reality. A current event that get dragged into everyday life and its destiny is about a sudden achievement. Carpe diem will allow us to plan a new working environment where men and machines converge, optimizing costs and offering efficient services. According to Jeremy Rifkin, “Technology is seen as the ultimate factor of optimization: zero marginal cost. Then BIG DATA will contribute to an optimized and to rational governance, devoid of managerial error or waste”. Gilles Babinet, digital champion of  France for the European Commission, in “Big Data, penser l'homme et le monde autrement”, also adds: “We are about to make the transition from a society in which energy of progress, innovation and productivity to one where data and the information technologies that underpin it’ll be the engine of progress”. Technological unemployment is occurring in Europe as well as in world powers. Frey and Osborne, some years ago, in “The future of employment: how susceptible are jobs to computerization?”, take a look at the United States labour market. They found a lots of complex variables about the decline in employment. For this reason we should ask to our political class to stop and questioning about that. As Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee said: “It’s urgent that we understand these phenomena, discuss their implications, and come up with strategies that allow human workers to race ahead with machines instead of racing against them”. According to a recent analysis published by the Hans Böckler Foundation “Machine will undoubtedly alter the nature of work in the future, but this does not necessary mean the whole sale disappearance of jobs”. This theory isn’t totally confirmed by other data, therefore in this table “Jobs in the digital economy” we can notice the tangible risk of automation:   For this reason, as stated by IndustriALL Global Union: “All the existing tools need to be fully mobilized to cope with such a largescale shift: anticipation of change, reskilling and upskilling workers, a renewal of social dialogue and potentially a reflection on working time”. Viewed in an historical perspective, due to the fact that every phenomenon has always deep roots, the question concerning the destruction of jobs was already lived by the European society. In the 19th century, in England, some workers called “Luddites”, fought and destroyed the machines, which are the symbol of progress and the elimination of hard and heavy jobs, seen by them as a threat to their occupations. To find an answer to this european and global question is important, also to avoid similar reactions by workers. As described by the European Trade Union Institute in “Digitalisation of the economy and its impact on labour markets”, we can notice that governments of some European states and part of the business world have taken some initiatives. Germany, Austria, Belgium, France and Italy started to study this phenomenon through international studies, conferences taken by groups of experts and a series of initiatives taken by individual trade unions. Those activities should be the beginning of a new era of labour law and policy.
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