Hardly a day seems to go by without a new report on artificial intelligence replacing jobs. On Thursday, BT added the latest bad news as the British telecoms giant announced plans to replace 10,000 Employees with AI.
Across Europe, forecasts of the impact of automation on jobs vary widely, but everyone agrees that major changes are inevitable. With the effects already being felt, the need for government action is becoming ever more urgent.
Here are five interventions you can take.
1. Retraining of the workforce
The concept of a “job for life” disappeared even before the inexorable advance of AI in the workplace. We are becoming increasingly accustomed to brushing up on our skills.
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Government policies can ease the transition. Italy, for example, launched a new fund this week to help reskill workers. The country has allocated €10 million to boost the skills of people whose jobs are threatened by automation.
It’s not the biggest pot of funding, but it’s a start.
2. Adaptation of education systems
In addition to upskilling the current workforce, governments must also prepare students future of work.
To support them, analysts have recommended several education priorities. They range from STEM skills for tech jobs to soft skills that make people adaptable throughout their working lives.
A popular approach is to prioritize “21st century skills” such as creativity, critical thinking and communication. Another is the creation of a highly specialized education. Finland, for example, has launched a free online course on AI, because if you can’t beat the robots, you might as well work with them.
3. Wage supplements
Technology doesn’t always replace jobs; Sometimes it just cuts into profits. The rise of Uber, for example, hasn’t reduced the number of cabs on our streets, but it has reduced the wages of employed drivers.
One way to mitigate loss of earnings is to improve wage supplements. The idea is to “make work pay” for people with low-paying jobs. can offer little more than social benefits at subsistence level. Provision of food supplements – for example, better B. Childcare, higher tax allowances or wage insurance for loss of earnings through automation – can lead to significantly higher salary increases.
It won’t be cheap, but it could still be cheaper than giving financial assistance to unemployed people. It could also bring more fulfillment and societal benefits.
4. “Nice job” creation
If workers are being displaced by AI, governments could help them find “good jobs” to replace those lost.
That’s according to Harry Holzer, a former chief economist at the US Department of Labor “Good jobs” should pay well, offer opportunities for advancement, and provide some level of security.
“Tax and subsidy policies to create ‘good jobs’ can encourage employers to improve job quality,” Holzer said in a blog post for the Brookings Institution. “Employer prompts can also be effective, but such requirements must not be so stringent and costly that they accelerate employer incentives to automate (as a $15 minimum wage in low-wage regions of the United States might).”
5. Universal Basic Income
No list of responses to automation would be complete without mentioning Universal Basic Income (UBI).
It’s a simple concept: Each citizen receives a fixed payment, paid equally by the government, sufficient to fund their basic name. Proponents argue that this could end poverty, improve well-being and redistribute wealth, while critics warn that it would be too expensive, exacerbate inequality and reduce incentives to work.
Love it or hate it, the concept is gaining traction across Europe. A recent poll by YouGov found strong agreement overall Seven European countries were surveyed. Respondents in Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK were all more in favor of UBI than against. Sweden was divided, while France and Denmark expressed stronger opposition.
It’s far from the only welfare option, but it deserves a spot on this list. If you have a better idea – or just want to introduce us – let us know through the usual channels.
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