Edited by Adrian Wilkinson and Michael Barry
Chapter 11: The growing disruptive impact of work automation: where should future research focus?
New digital and automation technologies are causing major industrial transformations and far-reaching disruptions to people’s working lives. The nature and extent of these technologies are the subject of heated policy and academic debate, but they are yet to be fully understood. Debates have mostly focused on ‘future of work’ and the question of employment loss as technologies become more advanced and sophisticated in their capabilities and functionality. This ‘future’ focus has, in our view, obscured the important issue of the extent to which workers are losing jobs now. Instead, we suggest a shift in focus to how technologies are changing occupations and the texture of work and skills demands; which workers are most at risk and the nature of risk; whose responsibility it is to assist displaced workers in finding new work in the emerging order of work; and what policies, strategies and programmes should be developed for employment assistance in these circumstances.
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