The Globotics Upheaval: Globalisation, Robotics and the Future of Work - Richard Baldwin


Trade and technology are reshaping the world of work once again. They shifted workers from farms to factories in the 19th century and from factories to offices in the 20th century. Today, globalisation and robotics (“globotics”) are disrupting service-sector and professional jobs at an eruptive pace. Digital technology is training “white-collar robots” to take over many service-sector and professional jobs. It is also enabling a new form of globalisation—"telemigration”—that allows talented, low-cost workers sitting abroad to telemigrate into high-wage nations. But what jobs will “globotics” create? What will the future of work look like?
In the The Globotics Upheaval Baldwin argues that globots will help us build a better world but the path is unsure. The problem is the mismatch in speed. Job displacement is driven at the explosive velocity of digital technology while job creation is driven at the leisurely pace of human ingenuity. If white-collar workers, who lose office jobs, join with blue-collar workers, who already lost factory jobs, the resulting anger could turn into a destabilising upheaval. Preparing for this upheaval will require a new type of preparation at a personal level since the old rules won’t work. At the government level, policies are needed to help displaced workers adjust, to make the competition with globots seem fairer, and to slow it all down, if the upheaval proves too great.


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