“I can have no consideration for machinery which is meant either to enrich the few at the expense of the many, of without cause to displace the useful labour of many” – Mahatma Gandhi
World Bank has reconfirmed our fears and apprehensions about the future of jobs and the extent to which automation and technology can influence it.
At a recent event, World Bank President Jim Kim said that as per their research, 69% of jobs in India is at threat, due to automation and technology. This means that in the next few years, 7 out of 10 jobs would vanish, and would be replaced by robots and automation.
Even in China, 77% of jobs are in eminent threat of being vanished due to automation.
As per Jim Kim, technology has ‘fundamentally’ changed the way progress is being made by developing countries, and the outcome may not be that pleasant.
He said, “Research based on World Bank data has predicted that the proportion of jobs threatened in India by automation is 69 per cent, in China it is 77 per cent and in Ethiopia, the percentage of jobs threatened by automation is 85 per cent..”
Future Paths Of Progress Will Not have Humans?
During the event, World Bank president asked more questions, rather than answers.
He questioned the very premise of progress and development, fueled by latest technology which is making the role of humans redundant.
He expressed doubts regarding the transformation of progress- from increasing agricultural productivity to light manufacturing and then full-scale manufacturing; and shared his apprehensions regarding the path chosen by developing countries in embracing technology.
Somewhere down the line, we get an impression that World Bank is not happy the way technology and automation is replacing jobs in developing countries, and is giving a signal to the Governments ruling these countries that one-sided progress will do no good.
He asked for a greater transformation of the whole idea of development, and using technology for the same.
He said, “As we continue to encourage more investment in infrastructure to promote growth, we also have to think about the kinds of infrastructure that countries will need in the economy of the future..”
Our Opinion: Even Mahatma Gandhi was against machines during our freedom struggle, but we know what industrialization has achieved ever since then. The same applied to computers as well, when they were first introduced. People feared that it will take away the jobs, but right now, around 40 lakh people are directly employed by the IT industry in India.
Such massive transformations like automation does induce a certain scare in the beginning, as status quo begins to shift, and traditional jobs are replaced. But at the same time, it also opens up a new door of innovation, alternate trades and new ways of doing things, which creates new jobs, and new possibilities.
World Bank’s statement about the jobs and automation seems depressing, and appears like a veiled warning to leaders of developing countries against automation.
But how can you stop innovation and progress, by blocking technological progress?
Maybe we need more opinions and more ideas on this sensitive issue.
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