Labor crisis: A robot steals six jobs

The World Bank says that technology generates jobs, however, other studies suggest that a robot replaces 6 workers

Labor crisis: A robot steals six jobs

You have probably heard that technology will jeopardize your economic stability and future employment. The so-called 'fourth industrial revolution', which refers to the replacement of human labor by Artificial Intelligence, becomes a threat to workers who perform operational tasks. Although the situation sounds more like a problem in developed countries, Latin America begins to experience what some consider the beginning of human displacement.

Leer en español: Crisis Laboral: Un robot se roba seis empleos

However, the results of a recent investigation by the World Bank seem to allay fears. The study, called 'The jobs of tomorrow ' , determined that the use of new technologies increases the productivity of companies, generates more and better jobs, and benefits not only skilled workers, but the less skilled.

The analysis, focused on industries in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico, highlighted that the companies that had invested in ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) obtained a 60% growth. Of this percentage, 5% of the cases led to the replacement of workers by advanced systems, while 32% allowed the creation of new jobs.

More than making humans obsolete, technology is transforming the labor market, reconfiguring the possibilities of employment

Does a robot steal six jobs?

Although the World Bank report argues that the implementation of technologies makes companies more productive and encourages the creation of jobs, calculations made by economists at MIT, determine the opposite.

According to statistics made by MIT professor, Daron Acemoglu, for every robot introduced in a local economy, the employment of 6.2 workers is reduced. In addition, the robots would be responsible for salaries falling between 0.25% and 0.5% and would be causing the loss of between 360,000 and 670,000 jobs globally.

To everyone's relief, the Acemoglu analyzes and the World Bank results refer to two different approaches. While the economist highlights the cost of implementing Artificial Intelligence in companies, the World Bank highlights the benefits of the adoption of information and communication technologies.

Under this scenario, when digital technology is adopted in the companies, the worker will be able to leave aside his operative tasks to concentrate on activities that he/she had no opportunity to do before. Companies can also train in the manipulation of tools focused on understanding the market and deepen functions that maximize workers’ productivity.

In a positive scenario, this change generates an exponential growth that is reflected from the industry to society. More than making humans obsolete, technology is transforming the labor market, reconfiguring employment possibilities. However, delaying the adaptation of the digital culture could leave outside many benefits of this technological revolution.

Does having more technology mean more and better jobs?

Under this concept, the adoption of technology in companies is less threatening than many consider, since it allows companies to have greater production and therefore more capacity to expand hiring, improve salaries and conditions of employees. However, it is essential that countries adopt favorable policies for economic growth and the digital revolution.

As stated by the Vice President of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean, Jorge Familiar, the ideal mechanism to open up these new structures will depend on the capacity of the regions to open markets, reduce the costs of technological implementation, increase the competitiveness that encourages the development of better products, and enhance the training and training of operational employees.

This last aspect is perhaps one of the most neglected in Latin America, where companies, mainly those with the longest trajectory, after achieving corporate sustainability ignore the importance of keeping their employees in constant training.


Latin American Post | Krishna Jaramillo
Translated from “ Crisis Laboral: Un robot se roba seis empleos”