Date: Sep 17, 2020
Arabian Sea Dialogues | Second Edition

This webinar will take place from 4:30 p.m. IST.

Please note that registration is on a first come, first served basis. If your registration is successful, you will receive a confirmation email and a link through which you can join the discussion.

4th IR and the future of work

Uncertainty over the future of jobs has lurked with every technological leap over centuries. However, those fears were largely about the replacement of physical labour alone and quite immune to cognitive function. Now, with the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4th IR) and increasing use of emerging technologies, the tally of potential job destruction is linked to the predictive power of machines at scale. As 4th IR makes further inroads with disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Blockchain, some jobs will disappear — many more will be created — and nearly all will change. Workers across the spectrum of work will require new skills. Firms must tackle the difficult challenges and recalibrate internal business processes. Experts agree that the enormous impact of the 4th IR in myriad ways is not going to replace managers, but managers who know how to adapt to the inevitable disruptions will replace managers who don’t. If that’s where the old ‘job’ ends and the ‘future of work’ begins, how do we anticipate the still uncertain consequences of the 4th IR and get it right? How will the world skill its youth as the 4th IR brings about a 360-degree transformation in the work ecosystems? Can context and country-specific quantitative models be built to analyse the impact of the 4th IR in all its ramifications on employment?

With the wider employment of the 4th IR technologies set to have an outsized impact on society, it is vital to establish effective governance structures and regulatory mechanisms. As the interplay between AI and ML make machines and computers work and behave, that — until recently, was thought impossible without human intelligence and intervention — should we hold an algorithm accountable just as we hold humans accountable for their actions? What would punitive action on algorithm look like? As we allow algorithms to make more decisions for us, it’s worth thinking about these ethical quandaries and frame effective regulation for a more secure future for humanity.

The World Development Report, quoting ILO figures, indicates that women’s participation in the global workforce continues to be largely much less than that of men, with huge difference across societies. Will the 4th IR it makes it easier for women to get a level playing field or will it exacerbate the digital divide?