Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Automation will bring new challenges and possibilities

The nation’s leadership is preparing its people for a changing world of work and commerce

According to a new report, 20 million manufacturing jobs will be lost across the globe by 2030. AP
According to a new report, 20 million manufacturing jobs will be lost across the globe by 2030. AP

The fourth industrial revolution will not resemble a Hollywood-style robot onslaught, but a subtle reinvention of the world of work. According to a new report by Oxford Economics, 20 million manufacturing jobs will be lost across the globe by 2030. Although millions of new jobs will be created in the process, they might not provide livelihoods for low-skilled manufacturing workers in poorer areas of developed societies. However, it is not too late to act.

Governments across the world are waking up to the realities of automation – already a core aspect of modern commerce – and the need to prepare future generations. Because, along with change comes new possibilities. As Francesco La Camera, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency, said in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, fears of job losses from the global shift to renewable energy are overblown. In fact, more jobs will be created than lost as we abandon fossil fuels. Similarly, as we usher in a new industrial revolution, we must adapt to fill the new jobs it will create.

James Lambert, one of the authors of the Oxford Economics report, said: “Governments, policymakers, business and individuals need to think hard now about this wave of tech-driven change.” The rate of robot creation is steadily rising. And, without the need for holidays, sick leave and finite working days, machines will add trillions of dollars to the global economy. Whether by retraining workers or pondering some form of universal basic income, we must begin our preparations now.

Fortunately, the UAE is doing just that. In 2017, the nation became the first to appoint a minister for artificial intelligence and launched an initiative to train one million young Arabs to code. The world is changing around us, and while we cannot predict the future, we can ready ourselves for its possibilities. Many countries are currently unable to equip themselves for the continuing advance of AI. By viewing the fourth industrial revolution as an opportunity, rather than a threat, the UAE is once again leading the way.

Updated: June 26, 2019 07:51 PM

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