You are here

IGF 2018 - Day 2 - Salle IX - WS385 Challenges & opportunities: How will technology reshape jobs

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Thirteenth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 November 2018. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

***

 

>> MODERATOR: Hi, everyone.  He will be starting.  So if you want to grab a chair and sort of get ready for amazing panel.

My name is Adela Goberna.  I work on the international association.  I would like to greet you all and welcome you to this panel, named "Challenges and Opportunities, How Will Technology Reshape Jobs."

So today, what we are trying it tackle is how technology impacts jobs.  When he talk about work, a lot of perspective and negativity comes into the table.  What we are looking for is sort of changes that perspective, and sort of understanding how we can use technology on our behalf and sort of create quality work, quality jobs and have an impact on productivity and also tackling other areas like digital economy and those kind of perspective that we actually talk about in the forum.

So having this in mind, I would like to introduce our panelists we have one in person panelists and another remote panelist.  She couldn't do the trip so I will start with Ana Basco.  She's an immigration specialist Latin American and Caribbean group.  I have two questions for you to give us some insight on it.

The first is what are the skills that will be more in demand in the next few years and how Latin American people feel with the digital transformation.

>> ANA INES BASCO: Hello, everyone, can you hear me well?  Yes?

>> MODERATOR: Yes, Ana.

>> ANA INES BASCO: Hello.  How are you?  Thank you very much, for allowing me to participate in this panel.  I think it's fairly important for the entire world.  I would like to attend the conference but I will be participating in this way.

So could go ahead with the next slide?

Can you ‑‑

>> MODERATOR: Sorry, Ana could you speak a little bit louder, please?  Just a bit.

>> ANA INES BASCO: Yes.  So at INTAL, for the last four years we have been working on the impact of new technologies, from different areas like employment, trade, integration and education.  Some of the studies we published last year are these publications that are contained in this slide.

We talked about the future of work.  We explored the opinion of Latin American people related integration, innovation and new technologies.

Industry 4.0, is about the level of penetration of new technologies in 300 firms in Argentina.

In "Planet Algorithm" it's the artificial intelligence in different areas such as education, transportation, and other areas.

And in "Compass Millennial," how prepared are young people for this revolution.

Next slide.

What are the skills that will be more in demand?  This is a consensus of what is more in demand.  The literature in general, there are people who are more in demand are first of all, hard skills associated with STEM, science, technology, and also soft skills associated with those skills that are more difficult for rural, like leadership, and communication, creativity.

So, these skills are more difficult and they will develop these skills in the next three years.

And also the idea of interacting between machine and robot.  We think that there will be a person calibrating and evaluating it.

So next one.  So we can call this new profile, required like the people of the new Renaissance, because of the multidisciplinary skills require.  It's not necessary to know mathematics and science.  People have to know about business and they have to have soft skills like collaboration, and creativity and communication, et cetera.  And they need to have the ability to interact with all.

Next one, please.

And we also fiend this evidence in the survey that we conducted in Argentina with 300 firms.  The skill gaps are more in demand and they will be more in demand in the next period.  First of all, soft skills and the ability ‑‑ the soft skills, the hard skills, what they did with them, the science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

But where are these technosapiens.  According to the European Union, more than 100,000 jobs will be created in the area of big data in 2020, but the number of graduates in this school has been reduced in the last few years.  So it tends to be a gap between supply and demand of these kind of skills.

And it is something that it also happening in other parts of the world, for example, Argentina.

As a occurrence of this, with intel and the support of ally and Google we are developing a paper to measure this gap in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Chile.

Next one, please.

We also found in this survey, three out of ten people who have STEM skills are women.  Only three out of ten.  But the good news is companies that have a higher share of women and employees use more technological advances and more advanced technologies.  Next one, please.

We also observed in the survey that we conducted, to more than 20,000 people, and it constitutes the most important public opinion data bank, we observed that Latin America people are afraid of losing their jobs because of these vehicles of the road.

We asked if they think that their own job will be replaced by a robot in the next ten years and we found that more than 45% of Latin Americans agree with this statement.  And we also observed that the lower the list, the lower the robots would replace their jobs.

We found that people working in the manufacturing area and the industry are more afraid of losing their jobs than people who work at the public sector.

We also observed this fear related to robots when weed the Latin American people, if we need to limit the use of robots even if this means a reduction in the economic growth.  51% of Latin Americans agree with this statement.  And next one, please.  And we observed this fear when we ask them do they think that robots are a danger to humanity.  36% of Latin Americans agree also with this statement.

Next one.  And we find that this fear is about using some of the job technologies, and using other technologies.  We conclude that 72% of Latin Americans wouldn't travel in an autonomous vehicle and 47% of Latin Americans wouldn't agree with their children having online education.

Next one, please.

And in terms of education for the future, we observed that only 22% of Latin Americans think that digital creation skills will be essential for teachers in the follow 20 years, and only 20% of Latin America thinks it robots could help teachers in their jobs.  Just one, please.  And we think that this fear is related to income inequality as we observed in the surveys we conducted in Argentina on millennials.  We wanted to do research on them because they were born in the digital area and now they have to face the labor market in this new area, this new revolution.

So we asked ourselves, how do they prepare for these gaps?  Next one, please.

And what we found is that although 93% of millennials have mobile phones with Internet access, and although 84% have computer with technological devices, only 20% of millennials use technology to buy, study or work.  And this remain and are used by the upper and middle, and upper socioeconomic sectors.

Lower socioeconomic, sectors have less STEM skills and the technologies at work and the technological devoices and less technology logical careers.

Next one, please.

But although Latin Americans are afraid of losing their jobs because of robots and all they are not willing to cooperate with the technologies and although millennials don't seem to be so technological, we find positive changes.

Technology is a factor of hope.  80% of Latin Americans have a mobile phone and 32 have a SmartPhone.  So they prefer technology than having food.

Next one, please.  We also observed that they feel confident about their future.  Two out of three believe that they are well prepared for the jobs the future and 56% of people incomplete primary education say they are also prepared for these jobs.

Next one, please.

And also they had a positive vision for technology and jobs.  8 out of 10, they believed that technology is good for the jobs of future.

Next one.

And finally, we observed that they are conscious about the benefits of internet.  65% of Latin Americans think that Internet access is important.  So just to conclude, I would like to leave you with two messages.  First of all, we think that through international organizations, the public sector and academia, we substitute data and evidence about this evolution in order to reduce technological and societal and the benefits of new technologies.

And secondly, we believe that this technological tsunami would be accompanied by more employment, more economy and more development.  And not only in the developed world, but also in developing countries.

So we think this is possible, this frame is possible, and as Latin American countries we think that we need a regional agenda.  And the agenda has put attention on this revolution, but mainly focuses on the benefits of new technologies to improve lives.

Thank you so much.

>> MODERATOR: Thanks a lot, Ana.  We got to see how technology is inputting jobs and how millennials in Latin America are seeing technology as an opportunity to sort of tackle the future of jobs.  So thanks a lot for bringing the Latin American perspective into the table, and right now, I would like to give the floor to Maarit Palovirta.  She's a senior manager, regional fairs at the Internet Society.  And so Maarit, last year ISOC had a paper called "The Internet and Jobs and Opportunity for Europe."  They looked at the he eCommerce and it's impacting the job creation and the phenomena around it.

What do you see the opportunities for job creation in the Internet economy are and what are the ISOC's issue around this perspective?  Thank you very much.

>> MAARIT PALOVIRTA: Just to give you a background.  This was not an Internet Society paper as of such.  But in Europe, I'm braced in Brussels, you know, there are lots of currently kind of negativity around the Internet.  We are talking about privacy and all of these things.

What we wanted to do is remind people of the Internet of opportunity.  Internet offers opportunity.  We commissioned a Brussels‑based think tank, the center for European policy studies, I think they are called to write this paper for us, as a kind of discussion starter.

So it's not directly reflecting Internet Society's positions but we wanted to bring some meat into the discussions of how the Internet can enable economic growth and then also job creation.

So where are the new jobs then being created in an Internet economy?  And I'm just going to give you some examples here.  In no particular order of priority in any way, but first thing that we looked at eCommerce.  So we know that there has been a transition from a traditional retail sector, from high streets, actual physical shops an online shopping and in Europe already where we have Internet access available, more or less universally, of course, I don't know the exact percentage, but a good part of the people are using already online shopping regularly.

So this means, of course, then that there has been a reduction in employment opportunities in traditional retail sectors.  So in shops, but on one hand, and there was back in some years ago a discussion about this, that eCommerce is destroying jobs in the traditional retail sector.  But, of course, since then, we have found out that, for example, well, some of the bigger retail ‑‑ online retailers, Amazon, et cetera, that there are other jobs being created.

And as you alluded to before, these are not only technical jobs, related to the online platform, but also, for example, in the case of Amazon, they are building warehouses because they need certain logistics to ship goods around when people are ordering them.

So they are building warehouses, which typically are located in areas where land is cheap and there's good transport links essentially they are creating jobs in areas that are not typically tech hubs.  So the jobs may not be the highly skilled IT jobs but there are good jobs being created for other kinds of employment groups.

And this in context, artificial intelligence plays some of these roles.  They have robots shifting goods around but the robots are not reducing the jobs as much.  They are supporting the job roles to say the heavy tasks that the humans would find difficult to do.  If you look at the study there's numbers based on a case study from the US.  It's already a bit old and so I won't quote the numbers in this context.

The second thing we looked at was data centers.

As you know, the more traffic we have going online, the more data needs to be stored, and in Europe, for example, well, we have fairly open borders.  We have data traveling across borders there has been a proliferation of establishment of large data centers and I myself, I come from Finland.  This is something that Finland and Sweden have taken as a national priority to try to attract data centers to come and be established innocent countries.

The environments, the like the Google and the big cloud service operators who run these data centers, who need to store data, they need typical cheap land, and this is something that countries when they think about how do we create employment and attract investment, as well.  How do we create an environment that would be attractive to data centers, for example?

Some this case, Google has a big data center in Sweden.  It employs about 125 people all in all, but in the construction phase, and in terms of the direct impact in this particular small time in eastern Finland which has been suffering from kind of industrial transformation, it has had a very positive impact.  So, again, indirectly, technology has then created new opportunities in this region, which is not perhaps the most advanced in Finland.

The third thing I would like to talk about is sharing economy.  So we all ‑‑ well, maybe not all, but many of us use Uber.  Many of us use blah, blah, car or cleaning services online, et cetera.  And I think this so‑called Uberization has opened certain jobs not technical drivers.  But if we take the taxi drivers, to groups of people, who have been perhaps disadvantaged and unemployment.  The barriers to join, in this case, Uber or the services is much lower than to join other kinds of highly skilled jobs.

So there's a case study again that we looked at, which is actually made based here in Paris, where they found out that Uber has created a lot of jobs around kind of marginalized communities and has really ‑‑ well, boosted the job market for these kinds of individuals who, for example, have been struggling with unemployment.

And so, again, while the jobs created may not be the kind of traditional jobs that we are used to in Europe, meaning high Social Security, job safety, et cetera, it is still important that these jobs are opening and, in fact, some of the taxi drivers that have been ‑‑ or the Uber drivers that have been presented, they are independent and they can have a second job on the side and they can decide when they earn and what they earn.

So, again, that he is a different dynamic to the sharing economy has brought a different dynamic to what we are used to really.

And the fourth thing that we looked at is the start‑ups and the whole app economy.  So we all have our SmartPhones and devices and we are using social platforms and we are using apps, of course, and downloading apps in regards to this.

And Europe, in fact, has been very competitive and good in creating tech hubs where you have app developers coming together.  And in terms of job creation, actually Europe is doing ‑‑ is at the same level, more or less as the US, which can be surprising because we are talking about the Silicon Valley and Europe lagging behind but in this sector, Europe is on a par in terms of jobs being created.  So in Europe, just to quote some numbers, it's about 1.5 million jobs related directly to app economy.  And then in the US, it's more or less the same, I think 100,000 more jobs.

So this is ‑‑ well, important employment element in terms of the growth and innovation.

And then if we look at the countries, to what extent apps, for example, contribute to a country's economy, they talk about something that they call app intensity, which is the percentage of the total jobs related to ‑‑ the percentage of total jobs related to app development.  And Finland is leading this 1.9% of all jobs are related to app development and the US 1.2%.  And Italy is lagging behind at 0.4%.  So we have great differences between countries.  Not all countries are benefiting equally.

But these are kind of opportunities I think that countries and regions need to look at, if they want to create jobs using the Internet as a platform.

So the paper doesn't necessarily address the issue of artificial intelligence.  As I said, we prepared the paper a year ago already but there have been some very interesting developments and work done in Europe in the area of artificial intelligence since and we as Internet Society, we, of course, are following this.  We haven't gone into detail in looking at the job aspects, but the OECD, for example, has done some work in this.

And what is quite interesting, that the estimates are that, well, there's only quite a small number of jobs.  So they are talking about 5% of jobs that might be destructed because of things getting automatic and robotics, et cetera.  But then there's a much larger part of jobs that will be impacted partially.  So while the job may not disappear, the job description or the tasks are changing.  So we are going to the point of the first speaking who was talking about reskilling and education playing a key role.

We need to focus on those ass because we need to have the people adapting to the new realities and changing alongside that.  And, again, overall when we talk about this, so all of these kind of trends and dynamics that we are seeing happening, unfortunately ‑‑ well, fortunately or unfortunately, they will not be equally spread across the globe.  So some countries are better prepared for the transition.  And, again, this tends to be countries who are already benefiting from the knowledge economy.  So well‑to‑do countries who are used to innovating, et cetera, and where the workforce is highly educated, there are countries where you perhaps have manufacturing et cetera, and then they are more at risk to suffer from the changes to come.

The OEDC points out that the youth may be at the biggest risk.  Young people, they are at the bottom of carrier ladder and they may be doing those jobs which include repetition, kind of monotonous tasks, et cetera.  It's very important to look at how that we are not punishing the youth in this kind of technical progress that we are experiencing here.

I will leave my opening remarks there.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you.  That was an entering perspective, of how different policies can actually make companies do the investment to sort of create new sort of jobs in different areas.

So right now, we give the word to ‑‑ he's with UNESCO.  So what are the digital skills and how is this leading to digital citizenship?  And digital goes fast and education goes slow.  How should they tackle the issues?  I this think is what Maarit said and how we make the most of the opportunities that they will be given.  So the floor is yours.

>> Panelist:  Yes, hello, everyone.  Thank you very much.  Yes, so I work at the ‑‑ here at UNESCO in the communication sector which is dealing with the wide range of issue and one of them is about the knowledge societies, which is ‑‑ it's basically the ‑‑ it's a ‑‑ evolution from what was called the Information Society, and how this information transformed into knowledge.

And ‑‑ and the work we do here is exactly to see how from the society point of view are we prepared for this shift to the ‑‑ what we call the knowledge society.

So I think it's the angle that we work on, the pure angle of jobs but the idea is to exactly look at how we as citizens are prepared as was said by Ana to this shift, different shift in different places.  So in some areas, it's a well‑established job mark and you have to shift towards the digital revolution with the IA and other things.  And other areas of the worlds, it's a different kind of shift, because you have a population which is going to be even a much younger and this ‑‑ and there are ‑‑ they are naturally taking this new form of jobs and taking the confidence in using the technology for ‑‑ for, you know, creating their own future.

So what is important here is the ‑‑ from our perspective is how we prepare this technosapiens kind of human being that was mentioned.

So we have to get into a new kind of skills.  So this famous 21st century skills are skills that are certainly soft, in the sense that, you know, young people must be prepared.  When I say young, it's even 35, et cetera.  We are prepared to, let's say have ‑‑ understand the world, the digital world that they are living in, which means how do you ‑‑ what is your approach to these changes.  And people are sort of feared, it's against a new technology, although they are in majority using, one, two, three, phones, every day.  The development of this fear is because we ‑‑ there's a general misunderstanding of what's going on on the other side of the machine, and this is where we are developing some programs here at UNESCO, where we join other people's efforts.  There's one project that we have to do youth mobile, which is providing young people with the skills and with the confidence to understand this kind of technology and be prepared to see, of course ‑‑ okay, when I click something on my Facebook, because I'm discussing with someone behind this, the whole world that is unveiling which is made of data and made of data flows ‑‑ and there's options and opportunities that have basketball developed by someone that are giving us the opportunity to maybe discuss with someone or maybe to expose our curriculum to other people, like in some social networks.

So being able to understand these things, it becomes effectively important in terms of imagining new services, like you mentioned the Uberization model, because nowadays, yes we explore a moment where there is the largest hotel ‑‑ no, not hotel, the largest ‑‑ the largest hotel kind of service in the world, having no hotel room.  Uber is the same, they don't own awe single taxi.  So this is our ‑‑ are all the things made by people that are fully understanding how the digital economy works and how they can imagine new services to build on it.  It's very important from my education point of view to give everyone the opportunity to be part of it and not just, let's say be users of what other people are choosing, but in a world which is highly ‑‑ some regions of the world, this is ‑‑ largest population is the youth, and this youth has to be skilled.

So you mentioned also, for example the app economy.  This is totally related.  So how do you reinforce the effort of this apps in ‑‑ there's a huge network of hubs which are supporting this kind of development and there are challenges being of course.  They are like the platforms where ‑‑ if you do have a fantastic app, you have been ‑‑ you have the skills, et cetera, it's very hard to get it up there in the top ten of any app market that is available.

So those are the challenges of how the new economy is open to new actors and markets, which I think was mentioned by President Macron yesterday.  There is a huge risk of economy and polarization of jobs, because many of the new economic jobs are, yes, maybe feeling some immediate needs, but I think it's not very well clear yet what are the consequences in longer term, especially for societies that are built on, know, some job framework with Social Security and other things that you also mentioned.

So on the other side, I have a growing pool of ‑‑ of ‑‑ of young people and ‑‑ if they are supported by investments and you may actually start to propose a new ‑‑ a new sort of solutions in any jobs.  But that's a ‑‑ of course, a matter investment.  There are many countries that have been ‑‑ are trying now to prepare for this, but there is still a huge gap in terms of the offering of education in this ‑‑ in this ‑‑ in this area.

And this is a bit where ‑‑ where we do work, actually, here at UNESCO.  So I think that there is also another point on ‑‑ in terms of the ‑‑ how the ‑‑ these policies are that are including these kind of skills in the education systems are also very different in nature.  There are more and more countries, especially particularly in Europe, there are more and more countries that are proposing these kind of skill education in schools.  For example, the coding skills.  This is done in a very different way and I feel as I was talking to you, I feel that this is not done always with the same objectives.  So sometimes the objectives of giving this kind of education is not clear.

The expectations is not to create a new group of engineers and be part of creating these new opportunities that may rise.

So I think maybe for the opening, I will leave it here.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Perfect.  Thanks a lot, David, for your intervention and right now I would like to ask you guys, if you actually have a question and if there are remarks you would like to address to the panelists and Ana is online if anyone has a question.  Over there and over there.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, coming from San Francisco, the effect of Uber has been dramatic for working people.  First of all, it's marginalized workers who can't get decent jobs.  Many of these workers spend 12, 15 hours in their cars.  Some of them have committed suicide.  It's creating a very bad situation for the working class and these platforms have made a lot of money.  The wealth has gone to the owners of these platforms, not to the working class.

And in developing ‑‑ in developing economies, these big corporations have micro workers, working in small parts.  They expect to get computer training.  They are not getting computer training.  They are getting little bits of it.  So when you have monopoly control, they will exploit the working class the best way they can and basically you have a greater disparity of wealth developing in the advanced countries and in developing countries.

So I don't see the future as promising under the present structure of development in the world economy with ‑‑ with the control, the monopoly control of tech in the United States and internationally.

>> MAARIT PALOVIRTA: Well, I don't disagree with that.  We are not trying to portray a dream world.  That's not the case and this is something that the market consolidation as we call it globally, this is something that the Internet Society is currently doing some research on.  So you may know that we every year publish global Internet report.  And this year's report will be exactly on that, market consolidation, Internet market consolidation, what are the impacts wanted, unwanted, et cetera.  This will be published in January.

So I'm not in a position to share any conclusions at this stage, but I think what you are saying is ‑‑ is true.  The fact that the Internet companies are so large and consolidated that is directly driving not only the things that you said, but the job market globally.

For example, when we talk about automation, if a company decides to automate a certain function at whatever facility in whatever country it will have a dramatic impact simply because these are massive employers and so forth and have large ecosystems around them as well, indirectly.

So not disputing any of that.  Thanks for your comment.

>> DAVID AUTOR: Yeah, it's a huge problem.  I think also that will highlights also the ‑‑ you may remember the discussion about the net neutrality, also that's also coming to the picture because it depends on the settings that we are operating in or, I mean, companies or everybody is operating in.  The emergence of this kind of issue may only probably be taken by favoring the emergence of new actors would provide some modernity.  We see in Europe, there are a lot of discussions around this strong actors from the Internet and how the local or standards and traditional ways of doing this kind of business have been reacting by opening new ‑‑ new services for them so that this will change the way they were operating before, and provide sort of alternatives for the employer ‑‑ the employees that were already there.

So I think what is ‑‑ the problem is that the ‑‑ yeah, there's a ‑‑ there's risks and there's a diversity of offer that may be avoiding this kind of polarization of the work which is ‑‑ at the end of the day, the negative because also the ‑‑ know, the jobs that may disappear very quickly and including, you know, the ‑‑ you mentioned the ‑‑ the warehouses, et cetera.  That's also a problem.  You know, these things that could pop up quickly, but they also can disappear quite quickly that's not relevant anymore.

>> MODERATOR: Thanks a lot for the questions and answers.  I think we have a question over there.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you very much.  And thank you for making the point.  I was about to talk exactly in this same way as you did.  So thank you for your remarks.

I'm coming from Argentina, and they are ‑‑ there's a trend because of the new app businesses and I would like to share what is happening there, especially with the people that are me grants from Venezuela, especially there are lots of people from Venezuela working in Argentina.  As their legal status is yet not clear, they tend to work in this delivery services platforms.

But the ‑‑ there is something interesting happening there, that I would like to share with you, is that there is now the ‑‑ the project of building a union of these ‑‑ that comes from these workers and I would like to ask you if there is any other expertise in the rest of the world of these people starting their own union, because they also don't feel protected by other workers unions.

For example, you mentioned the Uber drivers cases.  In Argentina, there is a big fight against Uber drivers that comes from taxi drivers and the taxi drivers union is not seeing them as colleague workers but they are rejecting them.  And there is a big problem this because they are also workers.

Beyond the narrative that they are members of the business or that they are partners of the business, in fact, they are workers and, in fact, this kind of new works are the most (Inaudible) jobs.  I think getting this own union is something to other experiences in the rest of the world.

Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thanks a lot for your question.  We will be ‑‑ would you like to reply to her or get some other ‑‑ sure.  So the lady in the green coat, please.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Hello.  I'm working in south Asia and Southeast Asia.  I think the ‑‑ for a lot of certainly south Asian and southeast Asian, the borer countries, the picture is sort of in between what you say, while what the gentleman said about precarious work, that is certainly true.

But this exists often in the context of no other work.  We shouldn't imagine for a lot of people in developing countries that this is some amazing Utopia, non‑digital work.  They don't have labor rights.  This he have precarious employment.  They are at the mercy of their employers.  So it's not that we have moved them to an amazing good economy, they are moving to an economy where they are slightly more formalized and slightly better resource, depending on the platform that you are working on.  You might be able to prove your income in certain ways.  It's notes deer as it is and it's not as amazing it is.  Also the flexibility is what allows gender nonbinary people to enter the workforce and they are not judged on what they are.  And it allowing women with very low skills to do the worst kind of work like ad clicking online from home and these are not without dangers because the platforms play them out of their money.  There's no offline ‑‑ I mean, a lot of these things just like non‑digital labor can be improved with proper labor laws and a lot more unionization for which for platforms there's very low incentives as the speaker was saying, I think there's a lot more nuance to the debate than the extremes that are sort of, you know, being artificially imposed on this, I think.

>> MODERATOR: Thanks a lot for your comment.  I think we got two questions over there, three questions.  Okay.  So the lady, please.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I wanted to also refer to some research that's done across the global south this after Access Research.  There's a small component on that, on micro work, and it is quite ‑‑ mean, there's similarities and differences across the regions that are enormous and the similarities and differences within countries which are quite enormous.  I suppose that speaking from the African research perspective, the main point is actually how limited is this work?  It's painted as an option and very, very few people are doing this work.  The significant thing or the character thing that characterizes the research in Africa, a lot of people are doing manual work, continuing to do manual work over digital platforms.  So the allocation of work, it's over a digital platform but they continue in large numbers to do, you know, washing, gardening and cab hailing.

So it's a very small number of people doing the micro work.

And what is interesting about the data is it does demonstrate that offline patterns of exploitation, et cetera, happen between north and south and with contractors even in the Latin American data with the French ‑‑ you know the Spanish‑speaking people of Latin American being marginalized compares to Spanish platforms that they are working on.

So there's a lot of traditional inequalities and, you know, brewing of the exploitation.

But also in the interviews we have done, enormous opportunity for people.  So as Hilanni was saying, this means not actually working in the case Uber or taxi for an exploitive taxi companies which is highly corrupt gangsterized business, even though they may be organized it's under stringent conditions.

We are seeing in South Africa, Uber and taxified drivers demanding to be organized and getting responses from platforms in terms of crime and protection in crime and the fees that they are taking.  So when you have got actual manual labor that's happening over the digital, there are people that can be organized and you can meet with them.

So one last point, just to add to that, is that there are initiatives to try and, you know, get labor standards applied, international, you know, ILO standards applied basic labor rights applied to platforms and there's an initiative that we are working with the Oxford Internet Institute, called the Fair Work Foundation and we are trying to get platforms to agree to a basic set of circumstances and be recognized on their site and therefore in their negotiations around governance and various other things that they are trying to improve the way they are perceived.  They could get some sort of accreditation if they were allowing people to organize and paying minimum wage and those kinds of things.

>> MODERATOR: Thanks a lot for your intervention.  The gentlemen over there.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I'm from the government of Pakistan.  The ministry of IT.  We have in the last few years been focusing on incubators and we are trying to get start‑ups to ‑‑ regarding them to start their own businesses and it's something that's been very successful in Pakistan.  One of the key things that we focus on is coming up with something that is individual, that is unique, and that is localized and that's not small and based on a brand.  Focusing on the topic that we, have the future of jobs, essentially what we preach to our start‑ups is that, you know ‑‑ for example, we have a start‑up from very remote area of Pakistan that's basically working on copper plates and they are really beautifully designed.

Then again as we move forwards eCommerce future where you want to go to a mark place to buy stuff, there is this feeling, I haven't seen it in the West.  We like to hold things and make sure it's good quality, what I'm holding in my hand.  Either that or it has to be an established brand.  You know, I'm buying what a Mac is.  I know what an HP laptop is, but when it's digital and unique.  When we move from physical marketplaces to a future where there will not be a physical marketplace.  Do you see the debt of individual products launched by small start‑ups and small ‑‑ should they conform with small brands?

>> MODERATOR: You over there, please.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: I just want to say I completely agree with the point that was made about the fact that we look at global self context, I think it's really important to have a lot of nuance, but I was wondering because I think a lot of the research that this presented here is talking about where and how automation and probably technology suggests AI are affecting jobs, but in the context of countries like India where we don't have jobs but livelihoods.  There are jobs that don't even get counted in the first place.  I wonder what mechanisms there are to think about automation in a way that automation is ‑‑ not only automation, but platformization, and gig work and the breakdown ever traditional employment contracts with absolutely no worker protections and complete barge inning rights and everything happening.  How do we sort of confront that reality that there's a sector that's not even in the reckoning, which is getting squeezed.

And I wanted to connect it to the question of reskilling.  What do you do with this sector of people, marginal producers, traders, else, who are just trying to get by and getting completely co‑opted into platforms, not to terms to their liking, but anything that that will give them a certain amount of bargaining power.  I think reskilling has stagnated.  We are not talking about higher order of skills.  They are not actually equipping people to deal well new paradigms.  What we are doing is like that was made earlier, a little bit of technology that helps me get this job done and helps me sort of integrate into that value chain of the big platform.

So how do we sort of confront those problems, I guess, because we are thinking about, like, extremely skilled workforces in India, which 4% of all of our engineers actually have the capability to start their venturing into AI and those kinds of things.  That's highly skilled, white collared people that are worried about their jobs.  That's my question/comment.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your questions and remarks.  Over there, please.

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you.  My name is Susan, I'm from the international telecommunication union in Geneva.  I have a question concerning the topic of skills which is very important when we talk about the future of jobs and first of all, thank you very much to the on panelists for their very good contributions and interesting topics.

When we talk about the future of the jobs we hear a lot about what kind of skills are needed and we heard, again, I think in some of the presentations today that there is an increase in the demand of people having soft skills.  So my question is around the topic of soft skills.

And, in fact, sometimes soft skill demand is even higher than demand in other skills as weekend reported from the side of employers.

And I would like to hear from the panelists whether they would agree to these kind of findings that often come from surveys, company surveys, when it comes to soft skill requirements.  And what that means in terms of taking action on it.

So if we talk about creating employment for young people, and these people with soft skills are in high demand.  Who has to take action on that?  Is it in the education sector and what level?  For me, that's something that's not so clear yet, whether we come into the discussion on taking action on improving those skills.  So I would like to hear from the panelists, thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your questions.  I don't know if anyone else would like to address something.

One last question over there and then I will give the floor to the panelists to reply to all of this information that's going on here, you know?

>> AUDIENCE MEMBER: Okay.  Well I hope they are taking notes because there's a whole bunch of different subjects there on those questions.  I wanted to just kind of open one more ‑‑ one more frontier for these questions, and that's a lot of this is built on the assumption that the job market will shift but there will be new jobs for people to have.

And I'm not sure if we are looking in the medium term we can rely on that assumption, acing that it takes off well and it may well be that there's just less labor to be done by human beings and that means that some of the beginning of the problems that we are seeing in terms of increased competition, precocity and so forth will project into a society where the people that currently have or control the companies are able to generate value without ‑‑ without the benefit of labor from other people.

There was no risk to natural redistribution system for wealth, and I want ‑‑ I'm wondering to what extent that kind of scenario is being considered and what could be the preliminary steps to prepare for, you know, a more balanced future in that ‑‑ in that case.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your intervention.  I don't know if David or Maarit would like to start.

>> DAVID AUTOR: Well, thank you for the very nice tough discussion.  So maybe ‑‑ yeah, of course.  There's the discussion in the future of jobs, we will have less labor overall and should we be able to prepare the countries, be able to provide different sources of revenue, let's say.  That's ‑‑ yes.  But at the same time, I think there's also a link to the other question on soft skills.  I think what ‑‑ I think education sector has a lot to play in these kind of demand, because ‑‑ actually, it’s no ‑‑ it's no longer ‑‑ the education role primarily is to prepare people for the future, right?  It is the education ‑‑ okay, we should go to ‑‑ of course, very precise education you get to some specialization on some particular things but overall, the education is at least primary and secondary education is meant to build the capacity of the students to face the future.  That's, I think, what should be the primary role of education.

That just means that in such a world, there are some skills like problem solving, for example, like what we call computational thinking.  It's the kind of skills that apply very well to, let's say the digital world, because it's enabled the student to get a mind‑set in terms of how to decrypt something, which is highly complex and try to find somehow a solution for that, by maybe dividing the problem, a smaller problem, et cetera.

So all sorts of ‑‑ kind of reasoning skills that are providing additional, let's say tools for people to front ‑‑ confront some of the problems we have been discussing now.  And that's also something which is responding to ‑‑ yeah, the idea of reskilling.  That seems something similar as well, because, yeah, the reskillings, we have done some projects on where we had the ‑‑ set up trainings for people that are already in some kind of jobs and to true up these kind of courses, trying to give them some of these softer skills adjustments.

There's also some ‑‑ I mean, it very much depends on the ‑‑ which kind of provision they are talking about, but in these cases we are giving is some skills about commerce and the skills about the marketing so you are also able to imagine a different future for you.  There are many associations doing this all over the world.  In the education sector, there are now a number of offerings especially online offerings that were not very popular in Latin America.  But we certainly have this kind of perspective.

And also, I'm not ‑‑ I'm not that much ‑‑ I don't have an answer for that question about Pakistan, about when you like to have something in hand, but I don't know, we can observe that, yes, it's a global market.  The things are going up and down through ‑‑ you know, new postal services which are substituting in some cases the normal services which are offered typically by state companies.

But I think probably the market we just adapted to it, offering in those places where people would prefer something, there would be some offering that would pop out.  So I don't see this as a huge problem in terms of development.

In terms of how this new workers can, let's say reorganize themselves to defend some of their rights or at least to somehow make sure that they are properly considered by the employer which is sometimes a huge, big company, which is just a name and very visible.  Well, that's an issue I don't think we have a solution here at UNESCO on this.

But there have been ‑‑ yes, there is actually a very huge difference from one hand of people feeling oppressed in one place and we heard about the testimony of this kind of new settings providing also new possibilities because of people that were not able to have the jobs before.

So I think that's very new.  I think that's probably a huge role to be played by states to make sure that there is somehow, you know, some way to go about ‑‑ about these things.  So we should no in a little bit.  But these are certainly problems that are hugely important that we need to talk about to the new kind of market.

>> MAARIT PALOVIRTA: This is a very rich menu of topics, but maybe starting from your question about the job descriptions and the destruction and the jobs maybe not being naturally replaced, et cetera, that there will be an efficiency.  I think ‑‑ we haven't actually addressed the request he who.  You referred to it a bit and it states that governments.  Play a big role.  When we look at these transitions, we understand from the discussion here, that we have different situations from the developing world, very enormative, highly developed countries that use incident across the board.

So, you know, who should be the one, you know, creating the security net and the plan going forward?  So I do think that, of course, governments are in a very crucial situation, but that doesn't really solve the problem because we know that in some parts of world governments are much better prepared than other parts the world.

So that may leave a good part of workers at a disadvantage.  I do find some comfort on your comment on soft skills because this would seem to imply that if employers are asking for more soft skills, that these are the kind of skills that cannot be replaced easily, right, by, robotics, et cetera.  Because we still need these kind of skills for jobs where which, you know, are not replication, et cetera, and you need managerial things, creativity, linked to creativity, et cetera.  So I don't think that there will be, let's say, suddenly not enough jobs in the digital sector.

But I do think that the reallocation, the reskilling plays a crucial part.  And I do think also that, well, governments are not only responsible but also the employers.  We already talked about the big, large, for example, IT companies, right, or any other manufacturer or company.  So the employer is actually responsible, partially for their workforce.

If they want to move to the digital age and change their processes, it's important for them to prepare their workforce and it's important for them to use the people who are already working for them, probably good results for a certain time and reskill them and prepare them for the digital transformation.

So I think I would go to those two group as the key drivers for change.  And going then to the discussion about the unions and the new jobs being precarious, yes, as you say, we are not also, you know, necessary touching those topics in the daily work.  I know in the U. K, for example, in London where you have a lot of ‑‑ I think they call it the zero hour contracts.  The contracts whereby you are hired but they don't actually guarantee you any work per week so it's just as it comes in.

And we have been ‑‑ I have been following a bit the discussion.  There are some efforts to ‑‑ I don't know if you can call it unionization yet, but there are some efforts, of course, because part of these workers are not happy with the situation.  There's another part who are pleased.  There's a lot of students who want to have a kind of side job to just make some money on the side.  So this may be a nice way to earn some money on the side.  But then those who for whom they took enough full‑time option, you know, that's, of course, not a satisfactory situation.  And, well, coming from a part of the world where trade unions are very strong, both in Finland where I'm from and Belgium from where I'm living.

I also think that the high level of unionization is not the ultimate bliss.  I mean we have to live with strikes on a weekly basis.

There's something ‑‑ we need to look at a balance there.  It's important to try to get this group of workers together and perhaps make a case to the government, for example, to impose some guidelines and how this could be done and I really liked your comment.  I didn't know that there was this ILO work being done on standards for jobs stemming from the online platform.  I think this kind of international, you know, voluntary guidelines that can give some ideas for different countries, that would be a very useful way to go forward.  And also would maybe create a kind of level playing field between the different countries from the very highly developed to the developing world.

So I think that's a very interesting role international institutions can play in this ‑‑ in this ‑‑ in these developments.

So ‑‑

>> MODERATOR: Thanks a lot.  So I think Ana would like to sort of reply to one of the questions.  I don't know if we can hook her online?

>> ANA INES BASCO: Hello.  Can you hear me?

>> MODERATOR: Yes, we can hear you.

>> ANA INES BASCO: Yeah, no just wanted to observe the question related to ‑‑ (Echo) the telecommunication.  I think that it's a very good question and I think that it's a huge challenge because when we think about the skills, we always think that hard skills are easier to be developed by humans because we can sit down and learn about mathematics and science and big data and you can learn a lot of it.

Related to soft skills, it seems to be more difficult, because, first, there seems to be that people ‑‑ there are people who are more ‑‑ or have more subskills like collaboration, creativity, and curiosity, and we always ask ourselves how these skills can be developed, you know?

But it seems that this can be developed, through training, and different practices and these skills can be developed, even in people who are not collaborative or who are not creative.

So regarding the question, would is in charge or who ‑‑ who can be responsible for this, I think that it's like a mix, in the panel.  I think that the role of the state is very important.  And it can generate incentives and programs to promote these kind of skills but also, of course the employers, the firms they have to ‑‑ they have to have a very important role here to reskill the employees.  And, of course, the ‑‑ the academia, the universities, these kind of programs should be included in the ‑‑ in the curricula of universities and ‑‑ and the different caveat.  That's all.  Thank you.

>> MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Ana.  And David, you have a reaction.

>> DAVID AUTOR: Thank you, Ana.  I think one of the challenges here is talking about education to these kind of skills is, of course, the difference in the speed from, you know, all of these changes that are occurring in the technology and the market, et cetera, and, you know, you mentioned this in your question, how the education is responding to these challenges.  It's, of course, a very ‑‑ I mean, because it's not even his to change an educational system.  It's not easy to change it in places where it works and it's not ‑‑ it's ‑‑ to change it in the places where it's building up and there's a huge already gap between the offering of education, for example, in the cities or in rural areas, et cetera.

So that's ‑‑ that's the problem.  And also the problem is that the skills are maybe now offered in many countries but also there are, let's say, taken as a separate subject also, and that's also, I think, what is ‑‑ has to be changed.  I mean, these kind of skills should be actually more embedded in the overall education, and not only relegated as a separate things.  Because when you want to apply digital skills to ‑‑ to overall for imagining the future issues that try to apply it and not just considering separate things.  So that's also challenging.  I'm not sure how this would be are responding but this is a discussion that's going on.

>> MODERATOR: So having that been said, I think we are reaching our time to sort of the finish the panel.  So this was very interesting, as we can tell.  There are a lot of stuff just going on around the future of work.  We got from regulation and policy, and public policy and how we can actually tackle the creation of new jobs.  Technology and non‑technology related from capacity building and how can we use the education sector to sort of empower the new force labor and so many other circumstances that actually have to ‑‑ have a context with the actual context of each country and place in the world.

But as we can actually see, it's a topic that is going to take some time, and it's going to take some new perspective to sort of tackle it and have a global solution that has an impact in the regional and local level.

So thank you very much for being here and great questions and remarks and thanks a lot to our panelists for being here also.

See you.

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678