Just a couple of weeks ago, as the World Economic Forum (WEF) wrapped up their meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the culprit of global job loss was identified. Contrary to popular news reports blaming job losses over the last decade to open markets and global trade, CEOs in attendance at Davos insist the real culprits are increasingly machines. Everyone celebrates the productivity gains disruptive technologies can bring. In the closing analysis of the WEF, those gathered warned that the “collateral damage” to jobs needs to be addressed more seriously. For example, Addidas announced it will be using 3-D printing in the manufacture of some running shoes. Consider the implications of job loss resulting on production lines of those shoes. Technological advancements are demanding our governments, businesses and academic institutions to develop more educated and highly skilled workforces.
Watch this video about the Addidas 3-D printed shoe:
Peter Cappelli asked the question “What can we do to help increase the number of good jobs in the United States?” in his article, “How to save good jobs”, last week in the Washington Post. Management practices centering on workers, not machines, giving them new skills and roles, must change (i.e.: definitions of “fixed costs – machines vs. humans”). Machines are getting better all the time, but they have definite limitations as well. Machines are expensive, less flexible than workers, and at their best they are “only as good as the people programming them.”
Here's some additional reading about saving good jobs from the Washington Post:
NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not too distant future. About the author: Dr. Joey Shorter, PhD, Executive Director, ELECTRI International, has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.