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Are robots at the gate?

A new report by Barclays Bank indicates tech and increased automation will create rather than reduce employment opportunities.

The Robots at the gate: Humans and technology at work report is the latest in its Impact Series, and it looks at how tech is transforming the working landscape and the impact it will have over the next few decades.

“Technological acceleration has sparked both apprehension and intrigue in terms of its impact on the future of work. Much of the impact of technology in an economy depends not just on what is technically feasible, but also on how human attitudes evolve. The Impact Series report examines the opportunities and challenges technological change creates for the global workforce in respect to available jobs, wages and productivity. Ultimately, society has always found a way to absorb the positive effects of technological change while responding to the challenges such changes pose; that is likely to be true in the future as well,” said Ajay Rajadhyaksha, Head of Macro Research at Barclays.

The report says tech can generate new jobs but cautions it ‘can and does hold down wages’. This scenario calls for more policies like the universal basic income being trialled in parts of Finland, where governments provide all citizens with a monthly sum – in the Finnish example €560 – without any assessment or evidence needed that people are looking for work.

This upside of tech, of more employment, has been discussed several times on these pages – with a PwC report last year suggesting it will do so while ‘removing the monotony from our day jobs’ – sounds good.

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