Future of work myths

We're so busy talking about tomorrow, we're almost forgetting about today

"Globalisation is expanding the supply of labour, while automation and artificial intelligence simultaneously disrupt the demand for it," said Amber Rudd, the UK's Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions, speaking at the Recruitment and Employment Federation back in May.

It's the sort of vanilla speech we've come to expect from politicians when contemplating the impact of new technology on the future of employment. It's regurgitation. Ever since Oxford academics Carl Frey and Michael Osborne's landmark probability study in 2013, which warned that about 47 percent of US jobs were at high risk of being automated, the ‘robots killing jobs' line has been something of a refrain.

While it does have some grounding, it has undoubtedly been blown up into mythical status. It's the go-to theme for any future of employment debate and politicians love a popular theme. So, what should we be aware of when it comes to the terminology? Here are some possible myths to consider.

The Terminator Myth

"The future is both troubling and exciting," says Daniel Susskind during one of his Ted Talks. "The threat of tech unemployment is real and yet it's a good problem to have."

Susskind, a Fellow in Economics at Balliol College, Oxford University, refers to The Terminator Myth, the idea that brutal machines will ruthlessly decimate jobs. Out of all the myths this is the most popular, so isn't it true? Aren't we in danger of being overrun by AI?

Susskind's notion that the emergence of automation will also be good for work is well supported by various studies.

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