Digitally-enabled automation and artificial intelligence: Shaping the future of work in Europe’s digital front-runners
Technology in many ways is perfectly conceived to operate in the workplace, bringing an ability to operate around the clock at increasing levels of accuracy and productivity. Since the Industrial Revolution, machines have been the ideal colleague, performing some of the most mind-numbing tasks and freeing up human partners to do more interesting and productive things. However, in the near future, new digital technologies are set to take the next step, graduating from the factory floor to the boardroom and applying themselves to more complex, cognitive activities.
Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are a game changer for automation in the workplace. Like ambitious young go-getters, they promise to take on more responsibility and make better decisions, and the implications for workers, companies, and policy makers are significant and pressing.
The impact of new digital technologies on the labor market has led to the coining of the phrase “technological unemployment,” which describes a view of how the industrialization of the workplace may play out. However, that perspective ignores the other side of the technological coin, which is that automation also creates jobs and brings a positive economic impact from its ability to boost innovation and productivity, and offers advances in fields including healthcare, retail and security.
This report is an attempt to provide a long-term view of how that balance may develop, based on scenarios of how digital automation and AI will shape the workplace, and calibrated to sensitivities around the economy, productivity, job creation and skills.
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