Technology, Inequality and the Future of Work
Free Public Lecture
In the long run, technologies like artificial intelligence, 3D printing and the internet of things may well create more jobs than they destroy. But as Keynes noted, in the long run we are all dead. In the meantime, we are going through a period of transition where such technologies, to the extent that they have already been deployed, are – if not outright displacing humans with machines – then at the very least, concentrating wealth, putting downward pressure on wages, and creating industries that tend to employ people on short-term and insecure contracts.
The challenge that needs to be confronted, therefore, is less about ‘will the robots take our jobs?’ and more about the types of jobs that will emerge, as well as about the social and political ramifications of these technological changes. Is increasing economic inequality avoidable? And have 40 years of neoliberalism undermined our ability to act collectively or to structure things in a way that benefit us as workers and citizens?
Tim Dunlop, in conversation with former ACTU Assistant Secretary, Tim Lyons, will explore these issues both globally and in relation to Australia. In particular, they will discuss the likely impact of any changes on economic and social inequality. Will new technologies change the future of work and will they widen, or perhaps redefine, the gap between richer and poorer Australians?