Australians and Robots Working Together
29 February 2016 at 10:48 am
Australians could be working alongside artificial devices and robotic devices within the next 20 years, according to a landmark report by the Federal Government’s agency for scientific research.
The CSIRO has launched a report claiming that rapid advances in automated systems and artificial intelligence meant that robotic devices would be able to perform many tasks more quickly, safely and efficiently than humans.
The report, commissioned by the Federal Government in partnership with the Australian Computer Society, Boston Consulting Group and ANZ, “mapped out the changing landscape of our workforce as we move through huge technological shifts”, according to Minister for Employment, Senator Michaelia Cash.
Senator Cash said the report found that some jobs would become redundant, but that the overall outlook was positive for employment.
“Some jobs will inevitably become automated over the coming years but technological change will improve others and also create new jobs and opportunities,” Senator Cash said.
“The future won’t be about people competing with machines, it will be about people using machines and doing work that is more interesting and fulfilling.
“We need to acknowledge the changing nature of work and allow for flexibility.
“We also need to invest strategically in skills and training and encourage people to apply the skills they already have to different types of work.”
Senator Cash said education would be key to taking advantage of technological advancements.
“More than ever, education and training are important for succeeding in the labour market. By 2019, the number of jobs available for highly-skilled labour is projected to be more than double the number available in 1991,” she said.
“How Australia’s workforce fares in the long term will depend on our ability to help workers make transitions to new and better jobs. Our biggest challenge will be to ensure no one is left behind.”
The report also found that digital technology and the new world of “platform economics” would changing employment markets and organisational structures, people would become more entrepreneurial and create their own jobs and an increased use of automated systems would raise the complexity of tasks and require higher skill levels for entry-level positions.
Australian Computer Society (ACS) CEO, Andrew Johnson, said Australia would need to “reinvent” itself as the future would bring greater technological advancements.
“On the back of investments in the resources sector petering out, there is a feeling of consensus across the country that Australia needs to reinvent ourselves,” Johnson said.
“We are seeing a focus on entrepreneurism to create new jobs, working out how to encourage new tech companies that will be competitive on the world stage, while promoting innovation through technology to transform current businesses so that they will thrive in a globally connected market place.
“As a relatively small economy, Australia will likely always be a net importer of technology. Large global platforms that have scaled offer far greater affordability than building something from scratch.
“So as a nation, we need to be focused higher up the supply chain creating value and generating a livelihood for our country.”
The full report can be found here.