Last Tuesday, Adaptivity’s team got the chance to be invited to share their vision with the United Nations. Here is a recap of what has been shared.
Recently the International Labour Organization announced that within the last 5 weeks, more than 125m people worldwide lost their jobs or have been put at employment risk. Seriously impacted by social distancing, mainly these workers were working on traditional offline tasks; namely travel workers, restaurant workers, cashiers, taxis, etc.
In the meantime, most of these jobs have been categorized as high risk of automation (as per the below picture).
Hence the question is, will these jobs reappear after COVID19? Will humans be cheaper than the cashier machine, will we be more productive than the machine? Enough to convince decision-makers to not make that move? And for how long?
Massive Automation is Going Through A Release Test
Not only for cashiers, no doubt this is a question that you may have discussed with colleagues or friends as it seems to be a hot topic of the moment, with not just employees talking about it, but major employers and governments as well. Thanks to www.willrobotstakemyjob.com, our anxiety is properly triggered.
But surely there’s nothing new here. There has been a century of concern about machines taking human employment, wave after wave.
However, this time around the scenario is so very different.
The COVID19 situation has triggered a tremendous acceleration of what we called digital transformation, and now is simply called our daily lives:
- We are now using online food delivery systems daily to be able to eat while respecting global lockdown. — Example here
- We are now using virtual meeting rooms daily to work remotely from our homes — Example here
- We are now entertaining ourselves daily using online communication and socialization systems — Example here
- We are now using exclusively on automated logistics system to move our economic activity and trades across continents — Example here
- Even our shop’s shelves are now starting to be updated with automated systems because it is safer to use robots than humans during this social distancing context — Example here
You understood it, digital transformation no longer represents only software but really now the extension of our abilities through machines & drones. In these times of social distancing, we need them to operate for us completely to sustain ourselves independently, locked down in our homes.
Quoting this World Bank Report, most likely many of this software and hardware automation will remain after the COVID period end.
Hence, the question is not, should I be worried?” But what does this mean for you and me in the next 3 years? And more importantly, “How can I adapt?”.
When the COVID19 will be ended, do you really think every shopping mall will be hiring as many cashiers as before for example?
Many jobs born during the past 100 years will be replaced by cheaper, safer, more accountable, and 24/7 options that technology provides.
The Risk of Billions of People Left on the Side
After years of experience working with various companies, many CEOs, CTOs, and thousands of people, we started to notice trends that are profoundly changing our society and economy.
This is what we can tell you:
- Every company is becoming a digital company, the companies that don't adapt will not be able to compete as their operating costs will be higher and their profit margins lower compared to a digital competitor.
- Every talent will need serious help to be able to understand where they can fit in this new digital economy and understand how they can use their hands to make an income during the 21st century’s 4th industrial revolution.
- The new world of work and the incomes it will be providing will be extremely unequal. The income inequality we have seen in the past 50 years in terms of Gini index, Purchasing power, and media salary mobility & capability will be ridiculously low compared to what is happening last 10 years and what is ahead.
The people equipped with digital skills can be paid between 7 times to 15 times the median salary of the country they live in. And with the spread of software and hardware automation, we are seeing now in the Post COVID world, this spread will only be accelerated, dividing, even more, the inequality gap between digital talents and traditional talents.
Dividing, even more, our societies and without real reactive support from governments toward universal income, we will see these gaps push millions of migrants to take extreme actions while pushing some underprivileged citizens with no income to suicide.
This is the nightmare we have that drive us to think: How can we create a medium that will enable 100M people to access digital employability through digital literacy within the next decade?
The Vision & 2030 Big Hairy Goal
Having a sustainable income through a purposeful job should be a human right.
During the next decade, we might see this right disappear.
Leaving behind billions of people on the side, with no income, completely excluded from capitalism or left to execute extremely low paid jobs at the limit of slavery.
Can we create a global digital literacy movement empowering every motivated people to access “employability” during the 21st century?