IGF 2020 WS #215 Tomorrow’s “Employable” Human in the Digital Era


Organizer 1: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 2: Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Organizer 3: Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group

Speaker 1: Soklay HENG, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Jaewon Son, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Aisyah Shakirah Suhaidi, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Ben Wallis, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

How to ensure the inclusion of low-skilled workers in the age of automation and artificial intelligence To what extent can the governments protect the rights of the workers in the age of automation and artificial intelligence? What are the criteria (expertise, qualities and abilities) for the workers to be ‘employable’ in this digital age ? How does an education and technology impact the opportunity of the workers to be employed? How to facilitate easy access to technology for those living in a remote area? What are the elements of an ideal education system in the age of automation and artificial intelligence?

- The rise of artificial intelligence as a threat to low-skilled workers disproportionately benefits high-skilled workers and it causes unfair treatment between low-skilled and high-skilled worker in a labor market; - The threat of automation making low-skilled workers redundant and unable to survive in a labor market because most low-skilled workers in developing countries have disadvantaged academic background; - Living in a remote area creates barriers for the low-skilled worker to engage with technology and develop their skills. In contrast, people living in an urban area has a better access to technology which make them able to develop their skills and survive in a technological change; - Challenging governments to lift the inadequate level of education of low-skilled workers and find a way to encourage low-skilled workers to compete in the labour market; - A topic of low-skilled workers in a digital era is rarely discussed in a dialogue and therefore, it is best to raise this issue and build a deeper understanding about the importance of skills under automation threats.


GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities


This workshop aims to raise awareness of the gap between low-skilled and high-skilled workers in the age of automation and artificial intelligence. This growing digital gap creates unfair treatment among workers, and disproportionately affects those in developing and emerging economies. For example, Cambodia as a developing country is well-known for garment production, dominating its manufacturing sector. This garment production is strongly characterized by low-skilled and labour intensive work, resulting in low wage jobs and low education attainment. Conversely, high-skilled workers (particularly those working in the digital economy) are always employed in a labour market by virtue of a beneficial educational background. In contrast, the United States as a developed economy is able to better leverage the digital world as their economy is less reliant on a low-skill manufacturing sector as in Cambodia. One of the key factors belying this is the established level of education in the United States, allowing for citizens to better cope with technological change. Therefore, this workshop will aim to discuss two hypotheses. Firstly, whether labour rights can be guaranteed under the threat of automation, and secondly, whether low-skilled workers can survive the threat of rapid technological change. Additionally, the workshop will also seek to highlight these issues as they are arising in the emerging economies of Asia. This workshop will have a duration of 90 minutes, including 5 minutes of brief introduction, 40 minutes for each speaker to present their presentations in a panel-style format, meaning that each speaker will be given a maximum time of 10 minutes to present, followed by 10 minutes of Q&A session. Following the Q&A session, there will be 15 minutes of open floor comments and discussion. As for the remote participants, one of the organizers will be in charge of communicating with the participants on the group chat so that they are able to address questions, comments and opinions in a whole session. Also, the break-out group discussion of remote participants will be formed by one of the organizers and each organizer will be in charge of moderating the break-out group discussion. In the meantime, the on-site participants will be formed in a group and each group will consist of one speaker and therefore, the on-site participants will be formed into four groups. The next 20 minutes will be spent for presenting the outcome of the discussion followed by the closing remark of the moderator.

Expected Outcomes

We hope to cultivate further discussions outside of the IGF with respect to ensuring low-skilled workers can continue to be a key part of the labour market; All participants are expected to share their experiences of attending this workshop on any social media by hoping that this topic will be widely promoted and recognized; The result of this discussion will be a vital resource of any kind of publication such as article, journal or blog which is expected to publish online in order to build a greater awareness and understanding about this topic; Greater connection among those who attend the workshop is highly needed in order to strengthen our voices and communities in the future.

As previously mentioned in a description, this proposal will include a QnA session and break-out group discussion. During these sessions, one of the organizers will be appointed to interact with the remote participants through group chat for comments, opinion and questions. Following the QnA session, the organizer will also be in charge of forming a break-out group discussion and the total members of the group will depend on the number of the remote participants. Due to the fact that there are three organizers, each organizer will be in charge of moderating each break-out group discussion for remote participants if it exceeds what is expected. As for the on-site participants, every group will consist of one speaker. It is expected that the participant is free to hold an opinion because, after the discussion comes to an end, every speaker and moderator are assigned to recap the whole discussion. To carry out an inclusive interaction and participation, the outcome of the discussions will be recorded by the organizers.

Relevance to Internet Governance: This workshop intends to discuss the improvement of low-skilled workers in developing countries to be able to work in this intelligence era. By comparing the employment situations in developed and developing countries, there are plenty of needed improvement skills for labor workers. To practice the bottom-up strategies, various participants including academia, government, organization, and other private sectors are welcomed to attend this session to share their perspectives in order to upgrade the prevailing education level of workers due to the replacement of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things. By doing so, the outcomes, which are the ideal education systems, qualified abilities, can be seen as the evolution of workers in the age of AI from the policy questions and interaction between the speakers and multi-stakeholders audiences.

Relevance to Theme: INCLUSION The employment market best shows the reality of the society in relation to people's economic activity. Based on this, we can see the shift in demand and supply of people’s skill sets that applies to each market movement in the economy. In the chain of economic activity in every country, it is crucial to take consideration of ‘inclusion,’ especially considering our focus on low-skilled workers in more vulnerable parts of the world in developing countries. While technology has developed immensely throughout history, the internet penetration still stays stagnant in many parts of the world. ‘Diversity’ is compulsory for development and no one country should be left behind in such a fourth industrial revolution. The world is rapidly changing and keeping up with the speed with equality and support accordingly to each context is crucial. In order to pursue a more equal, developing world, this workshop comprises aims to have an open discussion on issues that revolve around the technology and lag in following up with such speed in many lacking countries, as well as to encourage more discussion to provide solutions for more inclusion and efficiency in each and every one of human resource in this hugely globalized world.

Online Participation


Usage of IGF Official Tool. Additional Tools proposed: Zoom-online streaming for remote participation is highly needed to carry-out QnA and break-out group discussion.