Free Daily Reads 2022: Article 259

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Article Title: Opinion | Automation of services and social harmony


Article Summary

That robots will replace humans in the workplace has been a popular dinner conversation in the past century but is now actually becoming the reality with more and more employees being laid off every year. This automation of jobs is what is being discussed here in the passage. Robots are becoming increasingly adept at performing odd jobs and for the employer, paying a human for something which can be done for free is just bad business.

Richard Baldwin has written a book, The globotics upheaval:globalization, robotics and the future of work. In this book, he postulates that our brains have evolved to understand linear growth and with the advent of robotics, we are witnessing a sudden vertical upheaval. The swiftness of this change has taken the world by surprise. There is anxiety and a fear of security in the minds of the people which has led to a backlash.  Baldwin fears that if this vertical trajectory remains so for a longer time, people might feel overwhelmed and push back, making this backlash destructive.

The author provides the example of Denmark as to what could be an optimal measure to combat this growing feeling of dread. Denmark has employed policies which combine flexibility in hiring and firing with a safety net of social security and job-search assistance for workers. There could also be the introduction of universal allowance to offset worries about basic survival and also at the same time motivate people to become creative and look for ways to help the society. Although the robots are becoming efficient, but we cannot understate that humans will always be required for jobs pertaining to social intelligence, creativity, innovation, empathy and managing other people.  We cannot depend on a single career for out entire lives anymore, each of us has to be adept and switching and at adapting to the new found position.


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Words to learn from this Article:

Offshore: located in another country, use of foreign labor

Upheaval: a sudden violent disruption

Backlash: a reaction or an outcry

Radical: favouring change at the root cause of the matter

White-collar- pertaining to office work and workers

Blue-collar- pertaining to manual labour

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