Another of Labour’s concerns solved…by Kiwi indifference

Labour has their Future of Work Commission where they have signalled a worry that the robots are going to take people’s jobs.

The problem is that Kiwi workers don’t think they will so any political party pimping that message will have their policy fall on deaf ears.

Most Kiwis in the service industry aren’t concerned about the looming threat of their jobs being taken over by robots, a study has found.

Late last year, Massey University surveyed the opinions of roughly 140 employees from 50 companies throughout New Zealand and found 87.5% of them disagreed with the statement “smart technology, artificial intelligence, robotics or algorithms could take my job.”

Massey University school of management senior lecturer David Brougham completed the study and tells NBR he isn’t surprised by the result because there was less awareness about the issue last year.

“Despite experts like Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking warning about mass unemployment in the future, it seems few New Zealanders are making any plans to change out of jobs that might disappear over the next five to ten years,” Dr Brougham says.  

“It was interesting that those who most strongly denied the possibility of a machine doing their job were often from the sectors most at risk, like checkout operators, drivers and analysts. These are all areas where we can already see technology having an impact.”

He says the respondents’ reasons for having little concern varied but examples include the belief their job was more complex than it actually was and thinking they can find another job in a similar area easily.

“People will eventually step back and look at the lists that show whether or not their job is in the firing line and hopefully they’ll make education choices to reflect that and get into an area that isn’t a sunset industry or job,” he says.

“Jobs often consist of a set of repetitive actions that can be codified and done by a robot. This applies to many jobs currently considered high-skill, like accountants, lawyers and researchers. There is report writing software now available that is practically flawless.”

If robots come, probably off of the back of outrageous demands from unions pricing their own members out of the market, then we will find other things to do. No one cried when buggy whip manufacturers, farriers and blacksmiths went out of business…we adapted and created new industries.



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