Tania's Blog

AI: Artificial Intelligence, or Australia’s Inequality?

The robot revolution is inevitable.

In fact, you could comfortably say it’s already upon us.

As automation and artificial intelligence evolve at breakneck speed, our policies and institutions are frantically chasing their tails to keep pace.

This disruption presents one of the most pointed challenges to modern economies – and Australia is not immune.

While ethical and existential questions have dominated most of the public discussion, a gravely overlooked area has been the impact on inequality and the distribution of wealth.

You thought Australia’s income gap was bad now…

Peter: We’re a lucky country by any standard, the second wealthiest country in the world on a per capita basis, reasonable education system, pretty good health system.

But when you look at what’s happened over the last 20-25 years, what you see is that while everyone has improved their incomes in real terms, there is a real skewering to people at the top end of the spectrum in terms of wealth

Then you look forward and you look at this whole issue of globalisation, plus automation, plus artificial intelligence. The likelihood is that at the very least jobs are going to turn over much quicker as current jobs become obsolete and people have to train for new jobs. That’s best case.

Worst case is a lot of jobs, more and more jobs will go offshore, or simply there won’t be new jobs because of artificial intelligence in Australia.

If you look at the trends in inequality, the trends could actually accelerate unless we manage this transition really effectively.

Tania: For example, people who are laid off in manufacturing will have to go into service jobs like caring.

But then you’ve got to ask yourself, are people who’ve done those other jobs before going to want to go into caring jobs?

So…which jobs are the robots gonna take?

Peter: Lawyers and accountants. Any sort of industry where you have a lot of processing taking place.

If you think about the work of a lawyer or an accountant, there’s a lot of processing taking place there, or data analysis. Data analysis is usually a little background, but it can actually be done in most cases far better by artificial intelligence than human beings.

Tania: Obviously more senior lawyers in more advisory roles, their jobs are less at risk than say more junior lawyers and junior accountants.

Peter: For example, due diligence processors.

Historically they used to get young lawyers to do that, they used to charge around $200/hr, and it was an enormous margin.

Now, an awful lot of that work can be done by AI, because with big data you can actually review thousands and thousands of documents for relevance very quickly.

What steps should we be taking? How about that robot tax Bill Gates keeps harping on about?

Peter: Things like robot taxes and basic incomes, they tend to be raised by technologists often out of the states. It’s almost like the technologists can see what’s coming and they realise they’ve actually got to do something or suggest things to actually ameliorate the pain.

A robot tax sounds like a really clever idea, but the problem with a robot tax is that if Australia imposes tax on robots and China doesn’t, then China products become more competitive than Australian products, which means that Australian companies employ fewer people, because they’ve got to become more efficient to make money.

Tania: How do you define a robot anyway?

Peter: That’s exactly right, because a lot of the stuff we use now, if I use Siri on my phone, am I using a robot? Where does it stop? A robot doesn’t have to be something that walks around.

What else should we be doing?

Tania: We need to have these conversations so that we can bring everyone along with us and try not to leave people behind. Lots of people talk about universal basic incomes and things, I’m more in favour of looking at how we empower people community by community to support one another.

So, looking at more volunteering jobs, looking at people potentially being rewarded more for volunteering and empowering people in local communities to set up social franchises and social businesses that start solving their problems at a local level rather than relying on top-down government welfare.

The government is already completely stressed out. We’re not seeing any leadership really. We need to actually empower ordinary citizens to support one another to create programmes. We need to really get entrepreneurship front and centre in the community, so that everyone, not that everyone can be an entrepreneur, but that we really do nurture and support people to be entrepreneurs and to solve social problems.

Peter: The second area is we need a far more pragmatic educational system. At the moment there seems to be a separation between education on the one side and business on the other.

Too often in business the catchcry we hear is that when people come out of the educational system, they are not business ready. We’re not preparing our students to either be entrepreneurs or to readily be able to transition between careers.

About the author
Riordan is Techly’s News and Social Editor. He promises to tweet more at @riordanl
Original article.

You Will Lose Your Job to a Robot—and Sooner Than You Think

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I want to tell you straight off what this story is about: Sometime in the next 40 years, robots are going to take your job.

I don’t care what your job is. If you dig ditches, a robot will dig them better. If you’re a magazine writer, a robot will write your articles better. If you’re a doctor, IBM’s Watson will no longer “assist” you in finding the right diagnosis from its database of millions of case studies and journal articles. It will just be a better doctor than you.

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Vienna. 1926 and Slawa Duldig was looking forward to a pleasant Sunday walk in the gardens of the Kunst Historisches Museum, a favourite haunt. Except that the prospect on this May morning with its ominous looking clouds was not so inviting – and so to prepare for the likely showers she took a heavy umbrella with her. She captured her frustration in her notebook  – ‘Why on earth must I carry this utterly clumsy thing? They should invent a small foldable umbrella that could be easily put in a handbag’. A great idea – but ‘they’ hadn’t yet done it and so Slawa decided to remedy the situation. continue reading »

There Are 122 Million Reasons Why The Postal Plebiscite Makes No Sense

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This convoluted mechanism is simply a poor tool for our elected representatives to use to avoid taking any real accountability.

Subject to a High Court challenge, a national postal ‘vote’ on same-sex marriage is going ahead. An opportunity existed for our government to truly act as leaders, as representatives of their electorates, and to progress Australia’s human rights agenda. Instead, a costly, voluntary, non-binding, postal opinion poll will waste a ridiculous amount of much needed public funds.The problems with the postal ‘vote’ are multifarious.

The problems with the postal ‘vote’ are multifarious.

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Artificial Intelligence Will Widen The Gap Between Rich And Poor

BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 14:  (CHINA OUT) An Ultraman-shaped robot chips dought to make shaved noodle at a restaurant on April 14, 2016 in Beijing, China. The Ultraman-shaped robot could chip a bowl of shaved noodle in ten seconds and it had been working at the restaurant for over two years with no failure.  (Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

In this technological revolution, it’s the low-income earners that will be displaced.
Globally, the economic divide is growing. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. In Australia, more than a quarter of households have recently experienced a decrease in income. The reasons for the growing economic divide are many and complex. They include factors such as job insecurity, wage cuts and underemployment.

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TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More

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To genuinely achieve success, it has always been necessary for an organisation to embrace teamwork. As today’s economy places greater pressure upon organisations to be highly competitive, agile and innovative, collaboration has become a vital aspect of an organisation’s practice, requiring teamwork across different job roles, business sites and hierarchies, all to achieve a common goal. Teamwork is also important for employees, leading to greater engagement with their work and increased wellbeing, sense of belonging and job satisfaction.

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Agility = The most important word for today’s leaders

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Get ready for the future at Creative Innovation 2017 Asia Pacific taking place 13-15 November 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. www.ci2017.com.au

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“Things are getting better and better and worse and worse, faster and faster, simultaneously.” Tom Atlee

 

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When singing a song together, we become participants rather than observers of others. Singing gives us an opportunity to make ourselves really and truly present. No one has to be a perfect singer, or have the most beautiful voice, to be a part of a music group. As a well-known quotation reads: “The woods would be very silent if only those birds sang who sing the best.”

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13 ways to stay centred in an accelerating world

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Everything is accelerating and fear is ruling the planet. We are afraid of terrorists and climate change; deeply uncertain of the economy, our leaders and what the future holds for our work, our relationships and our communities. What we thought we knew is no longer true. Where are we heading?

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Loneliness Is The Global Epidemic Of Our Times

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All the lonely people, where do they all come from?

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The life and death of Eleanor Rigby, in the bleak Beatles song, reminds us that loneliness kills. Recent studies conclude loneliness and social isolation are the next big public health issue, on par with obesity, domestic violence and substance abuse.

At some stage of our lives, loneliness affects almost all of us. For many, it is a core factor in mental and physical health problems, and economic disadvantage. A 2012 study showed that in 2001-09, almost one in three Australians experienced loneliness. The study concluded loneliness is an increasing trend and emerging factors, from social media use to single person dwellings, feed this trend.

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