Technology and the Future of ASEAN Jobs

Posted on 14th September 2018

Access Partnership’s Policy Analyst Seha Yatim has contributed to Cisco’s “Technology and the Future of ASEAN Jobs” report with a piece on the regulatory and policy challenges in adopting AI at the workplace:

“There is a natural tendency for stakeholders to take a cautious approach to new technologies. This can, however, lead to some alarmist narratives which prevent sound policy-making. In fact, this Cisco and Oxford Economics ASEAN-6 study correctly demonstrates that AI will become a catalyst for job creation, by reducing manufacturing costs and providing workers with opportunities to move into jobs with higher functions and better salaries.

The emergence of new technologies like AI will not just eliminate or create jobs, it will change the way we work across society. The dominance of nine-to-five jobs may be eroded in favour of more part-time, freelance, contract, or job-share positions that are assisted by AI. Workers are also likely to work in many more jobs over the course of their careers.

These trends will have several policy implications — first and foremost, the need for new kinds of skilled workers. Collaboration between governments and industries is key to identifying these skills and how the workforce can acquire them. Once identified, upskilling workers requires investment and commitment. For example, government could develop a roadmap that provides a holistic strategy, from changing the way we educate in schools to developing and promoting the more flexible tertiary education that the more fluid workforce will need, or incentivising companies to train and retrain their staff.

Government will also need to rethink the concept of safety nets. As the share of part-time, freelance and selfemployment grows, safety nets will need to be provided for this expanding group of workers. Policy-makers will need to decide how healthcare, insurance, and retirement benefits that are traditionally provided by employers can be extended to cover the new workforce.

Lastly, efforts to adapt operations to new economic models should be supported. We need to enable companies to make the right investments in technology, and to develop capabilities in their supply chains. This could come in the form of tax incentives, or regulatory “sandboxes” that allow companies to develop and implement new technologies before commercialising them. Pairing start-ups with multinational corporations could encourage them to learn from each other, as SMEs may benefit from operational expertise, while the multinational invests in innovative working practices, products, or services.”

Download the full report here.

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