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Acting now for future skills

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Unless you’ve been living on Mars, you will be aware that the world is going through another bout of soul-searching about how robots could take our jobs. The concerns aren’t new. But they are now newly urgent.

Artificial intelligence programs such as Alpa Go have been trouncing humans in tasks that were once thought impossible for computers, defeating even the best human Go players. Driverless cars are now taking to our streets. And everyday we receive items we have bought, dispatched from warehouses full of robots working in what are called ‘human exclusion zones,’ where people aren’t allowed.

It’s not surprising that people are worried, or that anxiety has spread from people working in factories and warehouses to ‘white-collar’ professionals including lawyers and accountants, who can see just how easily an artificial intelligence bot could do their job more efficiently and cheaply than them.

So should we be worried? So far the debate in most countries has been polarized between enthusiasts who want technology at all costs, and sceptics who can only see the downsides.

Both sides are probably wrong.

A closer look suggests that the effects of automation are unlikely to be as dramatic as many fear, and more importantly, that we can shift the odds.

UK educational firm Pearson, in partnership with Nesta UK and researchers from the University of Oxford’s Martin School, recently released a report entitled“The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030.” The report includes a detailed study of future jobs in the........

© Japan Today