Industry to play down threat of robot driven unemployment

TechLeaders – a group comprising the heads of New Zealand’s biggest companies and organisations – says it wants to steer the national conversation away from ‘the robots are taking my jobs’

TechLeaders – a group comprising the heads of New Zealand’s biggest companies and organisations – says it wants to steer the national conversation away from ‘the robots are taking my jobs’.

The group has not identified specific initiatives but said: “Among a series of recommendations, the leaders want to reduce fear-inducing messaging about everyone losing their jobs and robots taking over.”

The group was formed with support from NZTech and NZTech CEO, Graeme Muller said the group, at a recent meeting in Auckland, had all agreed AI and other digital changes would greatly impact many of today’s jobs in coming years, as well as the income of many Kiwi families.”

"Through the discussion a number of ways were identified where technology leaders and industry could play an active role in helping secure the future of work for Kiwis,” Muller said.

"We must bring a stronger connection with education to help prepare students, support teachers and support the introduction of the new digital technology curriculum.

"And we need to work with government to help reshape the national conversation away from ‘the robots are taking my jobs’ to a more positive view that encourages upskilling."

TechLeaders chair David Kennedy said that, as industry leaders, group members had a responsibility to prepare future generations for what tomorrow holds. "We are well placed people to help tackle the difficult questions that need to be addressed to ensure future work for generations of Kiwis." he said.

"We all agree that tech leaders and industry have a role and responsibility to guide and support initiatives to retrain people for the new skills paradigm brought on by technological change. The development of the next generation of workers is also critical."

The group has warned that technology issues facing the New Zealand as a result of automation, artificial intelligence and digital transformation could become threats, leading to increased social and economic difficulties and a strain on government resources unless they are immediately addressed.

 

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