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Innovation

Structural Transformation in the OECD - Digitalisation, Deindustrialisation and the Future of Work

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, September 30, 2016
Abstract in English: 
In tandem with the diffusion of computer technologies, labour markets across the OECD have undergone rapid structural transformation. In this paper, we examine i) the impact of technological change on labour market outcomes since the computer revolution of the 1980s, and ii) recent developments in digital technology – including machine learning and robotics – and their potential impacts on the future of work. While it is evident that the composition of the workforce has shifted dramatically over recent decades, in part as a result of technological change, the impacts of digitalisation on the future of jobs are far from certain. On the one hand, accumulating anecdotal evidence shows that the potential scope of automation has expanded beyond routine work, making technological change potentially increasingly labour-saving: according to recent estimates 47 percent of US jobs are susceptible to automation over the forthcoming decades. On the other hand, there is evidence suggesting that digital technologies have not created many new jobs to replace old ones: an upper bound estimate is that around 0.5 percent of the US workforce is employed in digital industries that emerged throughout the 2000s. Nevertheless, at first approximation, there is no evidence to suggest that the computer revolution so far has reduced overall demand for jobs as technologically stagnant sectors of the economy – including health care, government and personal services – continue to create vast employment opportunities. Looking forward, however, we argue that as the potential scope of automation is expanding, many sectors that have been technologically stagnant in the past are likely to become technologically progressive in the future. While we should expect a future surge in productivity as a result, the question of whether gains from increases in productivity will be widely shared depends on policy responses.
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53
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Future Shocks and Shifts: Challenges for the Global Workforce and Skills Development

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, April 24, 2017
Abstract in English: 
This report presents evidence on the expanding scope of automation. After three decades of a secular decline in middle-income jobs, the bulk of low-skilled and low-income workers are now for the first time susceptible to computerization. Meanwhile, skilled jobs remain relatively resilient to recent trends in technology. In particular, workers with extraordinary social and creative skills will still remain in the workforce in 2030.
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34
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The Future of Work: Robots Cooking Free Lunches?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Abstract in English: 
The rapid technological progress in automation, robotisation and artificial intelligence is raising fears, but also hopes, that in the future the nature of work will change significantly. There will be changes in what we do, how we form workplace relations, how we find work and the role of work in a society. Some believe that these changes will be for the better: we will need to work less and thus will have more free time. Others think that the changes will be for the worse: there will be fewer ways to earn a living. The central question of this paper is this: will adages such as ‘By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food’ and ‘No bees, no honey, no work, no money’ become obsolete? Will work disappear and with it the societal relations and inequalities that result from differing success in work? If this is going to happen, what policy options do we have to address the issue?
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68
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Building the workforce of the future: Learning from Grow with Google

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, June 25, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Digital skills are vital for individuals and national economies to prosper in a rapidly-changing world, benefiting from the opportunities of digital and remaining resilient to potential risks. More than 90 per cent of jobs in some categories now demand digital skills. Yet in 2016, just 56 per cent of Europeans had adequate digital skills for the world they live in, and 37 per cent of the workforce lacked adequate digital skills. In this project we examined the development and approach of Grow with Google, a project which operates through national programmes matched closely to the contexts and needs of individual countries, in six case study countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Nigeria) in order to identify key themes and learning to support ongoing good practice in growing a digital skills ecosystem.
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60
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Global Trends to 2030: Identities and Biases in the Digital Age

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Digital technologies have opened up ways of discovering the world, creating an unprecedented access to knowledge and information. Fostering vast communication and connection opportunities, they came with the promise of furthering free and open democratic deliberation. And they have initially delivered: facilitating freedom of expression, enabling easier and faster access to information and greater transparency, boosting media diversity, and creating broader opportunities for civic engagement and political participation. Social media in particular now allow for unparalleled connectivity of a truly interactive nature. They help people stay in touch with friends and family, and find people who share the same passions, interests or beliefs across borders, facilitating new groups and communities of interest to form and grow.
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10
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Two futures and how to reconcile them

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, November 3, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Although there is little argument about the fact that climate change and the digitalisation of the economy are the two main trends that will matter most over the coming decades, to date they have predominantly been considered separately rather than together. The first step towards shaping our future is being able to think about it, however, and the compartmentalisation of research efforts (climate change on the one hand and digitalisation on the other) is unhelpful in this respect. Yet cross-cutting investigations present a challenge since the academic communities and social dynamics underlying both fields of research are entirely distinct. The aim of this Foresight Brief is therefore merely to initiate a debate by analysing the different versions of these two narratives. The author then examines the potential interrelation and ranking of these narratives and explores the emergence of digital and green capitalism and its consequences. The publication concludes by proposing a scenario involving a two-step approach to change.
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11
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Artificial intelligence: a game changer for the world of work

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
Abstract in English: 
‘Whoever becomes the ruler of AI will become the ruler of the world,’ said Vladimir Putin in September 2017. The USA, Russia and China are all adamant that artificial intelligence (AI) will be the key technology underpinning their national power in the future.What place, then, is there for Europe in this context? The European Commission has recently set out a European initiative on AI which focuses on boosting the EU's technological and industrial capacity, developing an innovation ecosystem, ensuring the establishment of an appropriate legal and ethical framework, and preparing for socio-economic changes. This edition of the Foresight Brief presents the results of a mapping exercise on AI’s impact on the world of work. It looks at the issues of work organisation and infrastructure, introduces the idea of ‘AI literacy’ for the workforce (as a necessary complement to technical reskilling), and details several AI risks for companies and workers. It also looks at aspects related to algorithmic decision making and the necessary establishment of an ethical and legal framework.
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11
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Energiewende: From Germany’s Past to Europe’s Future?

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Abstract in English: 
Germany’s historical experience explains how the energy transition (Energiewende) came about, and largely explains the resilience of the policies to abandon nuclear power and to scale-up renewables in the face of the challenges they have posed to Germany’s consumers, utilities, and international competitiveness. Whereas the success of the Energiewende to date has come from the way it takes a unifying approach to energy, environment, and labor policies, its success will require expanding the scope from a German to an EU-wide scale.
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12
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3D Printing: Shaping Africa’s Future

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, April 20, 2018
Abstract in English: 
Disruptive technologies—such as the Internet of Things, robotics, and three-dimensional (3D) printing—have been heralded as the future of the global manufacturing sector. However, in Africa, they could hinder industrialization and result in fewer entry points into global supply chains. While it may be possible for African nations to “leapfrog” directly to newer technologies, it is more likely that developing the relevant worker know-how, infrastructure, and corporate capabilities necessary to leverage the potential value of these technologies will be a very gradual process. African policy makers must therefore pursue multipronged strategies to ensure relevance as 3D printing and other disruptive technologies move into the mainstream.
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9
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Technological Innovation, the US Third Offset Strategy and the Future Transatlantic Defense

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, December 5, 2016
Abstract in English: 
The United States’ Third Offset Strategy (TOS) is a step-change in military innovation offering the likelihood of strategic change in capability, designed to enable the US to maintain global hegemony in an era of great power competition. It represents a key opportunity of technological investment for US defence capacity, which in turn can stimulate the US defence industrial base and the broader technological ecosystem. This policy paper looks into how the TOS may impact Western defence and security decision-making and its strategic implications for the European Union.
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16
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