Asia Global Institute

AGD 2016 In Brief: Impact of Technology on Jobs and Growth

Thursday, August 18, 2016

AGD 2016 In Brief: Impact of Technology on Jobs and Growth

Advisory Board Chairman Victor K Fung, Distinguished Fellow Andrew Sheng, and Academic Council Chairman Michael Spence make up the AGI Trio. Here they discuss the potential for economic growth driven by new, efficient technology, and how to deal with the potential job losses that this technology triggers.

Technological advancements have two sides.

The world is experiencing a rapid technological change that is disrupting not only industries throughout the global economy but society as a whole. This has serious implications across industries and societies, as well as for jobs and growth.

We see the rise of smart machines with artificial intelligence that will spur economic growth and create new wealth. Machines that think like humans could help solve huge problems like curing cancer and climate change.

But there is a down side. This development could make millions of workers redundant as their jobs are increasingly undertaken by robots, software and apps. There is also the emergence of a major crisis: human displacement which is linked, in part to joblessness, and in part with political stability.

A recent study issued in Davos in January 2016 estimates that seven million jobs will be lost in the next five years in the 15 leading economies, and only two million new jobs will be created.

There is a need for new growth model.

Developing economies in today's world will need to re-examine their growth models, because conventional paths won't work anymore. There is a mountain of evidence to show there may still be a need for human labor, but because there are a mountain of issues involving sustainability, technology may also hamper or curtail opportunities for growth in this direction.

Any new growth models have to be inclusive growth models, which cut across all social classes, or these will not be sustainable otherwise. This is imperative in order to have an inclusive society that will work to the benefit of all.


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