With increased automation and emergence of Artificial Intelligence, coupled with pioneering developments in the field of genetics, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, biotechnology, etc., the question arises whether machines will take over the jobs of humans. It’s already happening within certain sectors and experts say that it is a trend that would become even more evident in the future.
As part of the “Future of Jobs” campaign by Axis Moves, a sub-brand of Axis Bank, which seeks to promote an idea that can create 1 million jobs, we asked working class professionals about their views on ‘Future of Jobs in India’. The responses we received were a mixed bag and overall, here’s what we learned.
Ignorance is bliss – Some working class professionals had no clue about the future of jobs in India. It was not as if they did not care, but rather, they were so busy with their respective jobs that they hardly ever got time to ponder over this question. With long hours at work, we can’t really blame them for being unaware about things that may occur in future or how their jobs could be affected.
Will cross the bridge when we come to it – Some working class professionals were optimistic that even when there’s a threat to their jobs from automation and AI, they will find a way to overcome the problem when the time comes. These professionals did not want to make their present gloomy, just because something may happen in the future. Some of these professionals gave the example of BPOs and KPOs and said that these were not there earlier, but have become a reality now. They reasoned that new jobs may be created even when automation and AI may take over some of the current jobs.
Technology is a tool, not a threat for humanity – Some said that advances in technology and AI are essentially tools that would help humanity to do things it cannot do on its own and also do things in a better way. This would translate into a better life for humans in terms of health, education, prosperity etc. Technology and AI would also help humanity to accelerate the process of space exploration and colonization, which is the ultimate destiny of humanity. Certainly, some jobs will be lost in the process, but it’s important to look at the big picture and the greater good of humanity.
Encourage entrepreneurship – Many working class professionals believe that the government should step up focus on encouraging entrepreneurship, so that new enterprises can be created, which in turn will create more jobs. No country is born rich; it’s the ideas of its people that power its growth and bring about prosperity and abundance. India has a lot of potential and some very good minds; all that is needed is the right platform that can help transform ideas into tangible enterprises, which would create jobs. The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), IITs, IIMs, etc. are good examples of how brilliant Indians really are and what they can do.
Check population growth – Some said that population growth nullifies the gains made through economic development and creates a situation wherein too many people are chasing the same job. The government should announce a war on population growth and make it a top priority. If the population growth is kept at the replacement level, it will bring about a sea change in the job scene in the country.
Launch reskilling centers – For blue collared workers who may lose their jobs due to automation, some working class professionals suggested that the government should launch reskilling centers across the country. At these centers, people can be retrained and reskilled and reemployed in other sectors where automation may not yet be happening or may not be needed.
Need honest leaders – Some working class professionals blamed the existing corrupt political system for rising unemployment in the country. Systemic corruption dissuades companies from making investments in the country and it also kills bright ideas. If we can have honest leaders who can curb systemic corruption, it will boost investments, ideas, create more jobs, and bring about prosperity.