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Technology and unemployment

January 15, 2019

Email

ROBOTIC technology has entered the mainstream and is no longer the realm of fiction and science. Often we find automation is taking away jobs rather than serving humans.

The ATM has replaced bank tellers while e-commerce has made sales clerks obsolete. Similarly, voice recognition technology has replaced operators. Human speech can now be understood and responded to by computers. Quality goods can be produced by technology, and soon cars will also be driven by machines.

Technological whiz kids like Elon Musk of Tesla, Bill Gates of Microsoft and Stephen Hawkings have warned that automation could end human jobs and create massive unemployment.

Based on a ten-year projection of industry changes and technological advancement till 2025, conducted by Hee Chang and Phu Huynh (2016), over the next two decades, nearly 56 per cent employment in the economies of Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Philippines face a displacement risk because of technology. It has warned that technology has the potential to destabilise the world through war and unemployment.

The economies that are going to suffer most from this phenomenon are developing countries because a greater chunk of their work forces are employed in adaptable tasks. Occupations that incorporate routine tasks and that have modifiable procedures are more prone to be adaptable to advancing technology like cashiers and typists.

Thus it is important to teach and prepare the unskilled workforce working in various industries of Pakistan. This workers’ education is the need of time.

Maha Lakhani

Karachi

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2019