Automation, Employment, Status

Recently I have attended a conference where as usual, I was sitting down at the back of a seminar room. The speaker was focusing on emerging trends in educational technology where it was evident that he was summarising the Horizon report; a report which is of great interest to educators and policy makers as it sets the pace in the area of TEL. On the day, what really got my attention was a particular comment from the audience; a comment which made almost everyone in the room nod in agreement. Basically this was about the fear of robotics and automation and how trends in this area would signify that this would lead to unemployment fearing that this would lead to loss of status in society. The last part of this comment made me shiver as this is something which I have been recently noticing in Malta. Everything seems to be revolving around employment; how attractive is our country to foreign investment, how more women are gaining employment, how unemployment is being reduced drastically leading to an educational system whose aim is that of producing citizens which are employable. In our educational system the focus is on individuals that are prepared to future needs which would be needed by employers.

Should my status in society be measured by my employment status? Is my status dependant on my job title? on my salary?

Status is the position held according to the laws of the country of residence. Status should be more than a measure of the employment status. It should be related to my values, my beliefs, how I interact with those around me.

Today automation and technology are leading to disruption in the workforce where the widespread use of robots around us is leading to job replacement.In 2014 robot sales rose by 29%. Low skilled jobs are being replaced with automation. I believe that in the near future, technological innovation will provide robotic automation and AI which will allow all citizens to live a life which does not revolve around employment. The focus being living together whilst work will focus on creativity and meaningful tasks leading to value driven living. Bill Gates last month mentioned the need that robots who work should start paying taxes. This is imperative as social welfare needs to be sustained. Moreover, calls for a living wage are becoming mainstream. This would make sure that each person has the right to a decent living standard. Citizens would have a basic income provided by the state through which all needs can be met. Education would be focused on socialisation where individuals’ scope is about being meaningful in life, being meaningful and creative in relating with others.



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