Category Archives: digital society

Nigeria – the Federal Government to achieve growth with digital economy

NigeriaNigeria.

The Federal Government has announced plans to achieve an all-inclusive economy by prioritising developmental efforts in the digital economy.

Minister of Communication Adebayo Shittu said in Lagos at the weekend that the move by the Federal Government was to ensure that Nigerians had equal access to government services by using digitalisation.

He said plans were on to establish a Nigeria Postal Services (NIPOST) banking, real estate and insurance company to get Nigerians into a financial inclusive economy.

Shittu, who spoke at a stakeholders’ conference on digital addressing system and address verification system, organised by NIPOST, said: ”We are looking at establishing a NIPOST property and development company to make use of NIPOST underutilised facilities wasting away. It is our plan as part of the general reform to ensure that most of the vacant and unused land are leased out to the public to establish property development. Some of the land will be available to build estates, event centres, garages and others to earn revenue for the Federal Government.”

He said in two years, NIPOST would be the leading Federal Government agency in terms of its influence on the life of every Nigerian, adding that courtesy of its upgraded processes, it would help in bringing in the largest amount of money into the Federal Government’s coffers.

”There are communities, which are about 200 to 300 kilometres away from the state capital. With the help of these offices, people can access government services from their communities. By the time we conclude in establishing these companies, there will be no one who will not be affected positively by NIPOST multifaceted companies,” the minister said.

source: http://thenationonlineng.net

What ride-sharing means for Canada’s cities

dfasfHow are ride-sharing and other digital platforms changing our cities? Questions remain about the impact of the sharing economy on our jobs and the economy.

“I’ll just grab a Lyft or Uber,” I casually said when my friend asked how I was planning to get home to Etobicoke from the heart of Toronto. If you aren’t familiar with Toronto, the city spans about 630 square kilometres, and Etobicoke is its westernmost district.

The part of Etobicoke where I’m from is 25 kilometres from downtown. To put this distance into a broader context, 25 kilometres from downtown Vancouver would put you roughly in Delta or Surrey, and in Montreal it would take you halfway to Laval. Needless to say, Toronto is big, and getting around in it can be a challenge — so much so that a recent study named Toronto the worst city in North America for commuting. This isn’t exactly what we want to come first for. One key development — ride-sharing — is taking root and scaling fast, and it is helping Toronto shed this less than favourable reputation.

The rise of the sharing economy

How are the digital economy, the gig economy, ride-sharing and the future of transportation important for Canada, for our collective economic future and for the shaping of our cities? What is the impact of the increasing influence of technology across economic sectors, and what does it mean for Canadians in terms of jobs, skill needs and changes in employment and the economy? These are some of the issues that the Information and Communications Technology Council studies.

One thing that is increasingly reshaping how we understand our economic systems is the changing nature of work. What we refer to as the sharing economy operates mostly by reliance on gig workers who are part-time, freelance or on contract rather than full-time. Such employment is a central component of the sharing economy, which offers opportunities for people to pool underutilized resources, such as properties or vehicles that they own, while generating income and also connecting people in the community.

Recent estimates suggest that the proportion of Canada’s workers who are engaged in part-time, temporary work or self-employment is around 30 percent. Clearly, the sharing economy and gig work — both disrupters of traditional work structures and business models — are here to stay.

Ride-sharing is more than just driving

Looking at ride-sharing, we see new apps and services emerging regularly. Examples include companies like Curb, based in San Jose, which lets users schedule pickups ahead of time, or Wingz, based in San Francisco, which allows users to schedule rides to and from airports at flat fees and even to choose their preferred driver.

A substantial player in the sharing economy, ride-sharing is quickly becoming a staple of transportation. Peer-to-peer platforms that blend technology and community-driven services, ride-sharing apps have recalibrated what it means to commute and travel. With the simple use of a mobile phone, applications like TuroLyftUber and many others provide access to vehicles on demand.

I lived in Los Angeles for a few years, and ride-sharing was a significant lifeline. Offering the ability to hail a car within minutes, platforms like these provide a convenient and cost-effective method of travel — particularly for millennials like me, who increasingly choose not to own a car. Similarly, companies like Amazon, through Amazon Flex, are also using the concept of ride-sharing to bolster their businesses, while providing new avenues for employment. Applications like Turo challenge the vehicle rental market, by allowing users to connect to vehicle owners in their community to essentially “rent” a car. If you consider that the majority of vehicles reportedly are not in use 95 percent of the time, finding a way to make the best of that unused time by sharing them seems logical.

Other digital platforms have also taken off. While some of the more well-known ones are accommodation-rental services like Airbnb, of particular interest is the growth of services that focus on pets. Apps like Rover let users browse available pet-sitters in their area, and DogVacay matches pet owners with sitters in the area who can host the pet at their homes.

The future of transportation for Canadian cities

A few weeks back, I had the pleasure of joining a panel in downtown Toronto, moderated by TV/radio host and author Amber Mac, where I chatted with Turo’s Cedric Mathieu and Lyft’s Aaron Zifkin about ride-sharing and what it means for Toronto. Icons of peer-to-peer vehicle sharing, both companies had recently followed Uber’s decision in 2012 and chosen Canada as their first location for expansion outside the US. While Lyft is still fairly new to the Canadian market, this spring marked Turo’s two-year anniversary in the city.

What are the results so far when it comes to ride-sharing in Canada? Uber is currently available in 17 cities across the country. During its two years in Canada, Turo managed to draw 350,000 users to its platform, which lists more than 10,000 vehicles. Similarly, even before its debut, Toronto was already gearing up to go for a ride with Lyft. The app received more than 50,000 downloads in Toronto prior to official launch. Whether you’re hailing a car to get from one end of the city to another, or renting one to drive to Mont-Tremblant for the weekend, sharing applications like Uber, Lyft and Turo service a need for convenient, fast and affordable transit alternatives.

In the end, the 25-kilometre ride from the panel in downtown Toronto to Etobicoke cost me $20 on a Lyft Line — a car-pooling option similar to UberPOOL. On that journey I met two other passengers who were going my way and chose to car-pool. For $20, I was able to get to my destination quickly and conveniently, make a connection in the community and possibly eliminate the need for one or two more cars on the road. Similarly, the next time I need to take a trip outside of the city, I will most likely forgo a trip to Hertz and grab a Turo instead.

Ride-sharing, connected cities and the future of work

The benefits of the sharing economy — increased connectivity, the efficient use of assets or skills and greater economic participation — are playing an important role in our cities and communities. Ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber fill a need for accessible and convenient transportation. Services like Airbnb, Homestay and Couchsurfing provide access to accommodation that might offer better prices and more flexibility than traditional hotels, and freelancing platforms like UpWork and Toptal allow skilled workers to access more employment opportunities.

These kinds of services are transforming the places we live, and also how we interact with them and within them. Increasingly, they are inspiring questions about how basic needs like housing, employment and transportation should be met. Uber currently has over 40 million active users per month, and Airbnb cites more than 150 million global users on its platform. Challenging the traditional modes of transportation like taxis, or traditional accommodation like hotels, these services offer a greater availability of options, convenience and experiences for consumers, and could reshape our cities.

However, even these new developments, which are propelled by consumer demand and are shifting business and economic models, often require some finesse to operate within our current economic and social platforms. Last month, the city of Barcelona instructed Airbnb to remove more than 2,500 listings that were operating without city-approved licences. The crackdown on Airbnb was a direct result of the increase in popularity of Barcelona as a tourist attraction, which had led to a surge of Airbnb listings, limiting the ability of residents to find affordable housing.

The city of Amsterdam took a different approach, in its effort to battle excessive rents and low vacancy rates. It introduced a regulation allowing owners to rent out their places on Airbnb for a maximum of 60 days per year. Owners who surpass this limit have to apply for a hotel licence.

The idea behind both approaches is to allow these alternative services to continue, while ensuring that communities are not negatively impacted by them.

The sharing economy and regulation

During the Q & A portion of the Toronto panel, an audience member raised a question about the role of inclusivity in the sharing economy: While the sharing economy has immense potential to integrate new players economically, what can we do to ensure that this new marketplace doesn’t become an elite platform of income generation for those who already own assets like housing or vehicles? How can populations such as remote communities, people with disabilities and Indigenous communities benefit from the sharing economy? These are important questions that need to be kept at the forefront of the discussion and will play a key role in regulation.

While in some ways, sharing economy platforms like Uber or Lyft have been seen to offer expanded mobility and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, for example, issues including unfair pay and lack of work benefitshave recently arisen. In May, the Supreme Court of California tackled this issue. Its ruling significantly limited the ability of businesses to classify workers as independent contractors who therefore do not receive key employment benefits. While the debate about how the sharing economy should be regulated and who should regulate it continues, decisions like these will guide the public bodies that are willing to engage in the debate.

Most of the regulation we have seen to date around the sharing economy has taken place at the city level. Some early adopters of the sharing economy like Portland, Oregon, Washington, DC, and Chicago have established tax-collecting arrangements with sharing companies. This means that these sharing services will be subject to taxes, just like traditional businesses. Similarly, in 2016, five Florida-based cities formed a public-private partnership with Uber to subsidize rides. All Uber rides in these cities were subsidized to the tune of 20 percent, and those taking public transit were subsidized by 25 percent. This initiative was undertaken in order to alleviate traffic problems and to find savings on transportation and road building.

However, not all regulators have been as positive toward the sharing economy as those in Florida. For example, in late 2017, Uber shut down operations in Denmark, following the development of new taxi laws that required Uber vehicles to be fitted with fare meters and seat sensors. Companies like Uber continue to face challenges in many European cities, following the decision by the European Court of Justice classifying these services as transport companies. This ruling means that ride-sharing services are subject to stricter regulation and licensing in the EU.

The sharing economy vs. traditional industries

Innovations like ride-sharing can reshape the way we think of driving and commuting. They could even contribute to turning the most challenging commute in North America into one of the best. But ultimately, the success of these and other applications in the sharing economy is rooted in their ability to contribute to economic growth and their ability to provide advantages for everyone, including Canada’s most vulnerable populations. It’s our job to ensure that the new doors that the sharing economy opens are open to all, and that the future economy is one that everyone has the opportunity to participate in.

How will these trends in transportation affect consumer markets and labour productivity, and what impact they will have on the economy in general? In the interests of creating an inclusive, sustainable and innovative future for Canada, we need to evaluate questions like these.

In Ontario, over the past few years, the government has tailored insurance schemes to be relevant to ride-sharing companies. The Financial Services Commission of Ontario has approved auto insurance products for eight ride-sharing companies and three car-sharing companies. They work by activating the company’s insurance while the app is in use, and then switching to the owner’s private insurance once the app is turned off. Responding to changes and disruptions created by these new platforms, the Ontario government recently created the Sharing Economy Framework with the intent of generating new wealth for the province, while assessing challenges and issues along the way. The framework seeks to conduct research and consult with stakeholders on the sharing economy, identify opportunities or gaps, develop methods to address those gaps and gather data on actions taken to assess outcomes and results.

The approach to regulating the sharing economy is not standard across the country. In 2016, the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce called for policies on the sharing economy. This call focused on assessing proper taxes on short-term rentals like Airbnb, as well as the establishment of relevant regulations, the removal of unnecessary red tape and the integration of ride-sharing into the broader provincial Passenger Transportation Act. However, progress has been slow to date, and BC has become all but infamous for the delay in allowing these services to enter the province. Most recently, stating the need to develop BC-specific policies and insurance mechanisms to support ride-sharing, the government announced that ride-sharing would continue to remain unavailable in the province until the fall of 2019. Instead, the province has committed to adding more taxis to the road in the interest of mitigating supply shortages.

What is the best way forward for Canada in the sharing economy? Should legislation and policy development be considered on a case-by-case basis at the municipal level, as in the Florida cities that forged a partnership with Uber for reduced fares? Should it be at the provincial level, encouraging the development of policy frameworks for each province, like Ontario’s Sharing Economy Framework? Or should it take place at the federal level, offering a clear standard or guidelines for all provinces and municipalities to implement, similar to the ruling by the European Court of Justice that Uber is a transportation service?

The answers to these questions are neither easy or straightforward. They require substantial research and data collection on considerations relevant to each type of sharing platform, as well as extensive consultation with stakeholders, policy-makers and consumers. While the policy needs of British Columbia may differ in some ways from those of Ontario when it comes to this newly developing economical structure, one thing is clear: the sharing economy is not only here, but it is likely here to stay. The challenge now is to assess the appropriate balance between safety, consumer protection and economic needs, while at the same time continuing to support and drive Canada’s growth in the innovation economy.

source: http://policyoptions.irpp.org

Want to succeed in the digital economy? Bridge the cloud skills gap

Screenshot_1.pngCloud is now a business imperative, and we see many organizations taking a cloud-first approach to innovate faster and serve customers better. Increased agility, more cost savings and better competitive advantages are also amongst the most cited reasons for an organization’s transition to the cloud. However, there’s one area of concern the industry hasn’t been able to effectively address so far – bridging the cloud skills gap.

In Oracle’s Your Platform research, respondents from India cited lack of skills as one of the top three challenges they face when migrating to the cloud. Skills issues were also called out as issues around having the right capabilities for developing applications in the cloud, and around data management. The ability to find and retain cloud-savvy IT staff continues to be considered one of the key barriers to cloud adoption. No wonder, moving to the cloud is still deemed to be risky by some CIOs, but should it be?

The reality is that the bigger risk is not moving to the cloud, which is rapidly proving itself as easier to manage, maintain and secure than traditional IT environments. In particular, cloud services are vastly more secure that many on-premises alternatives, due to the fact that more time and money are spent on them by major cloud providers, and they’re continually kept patched and up-to-date as a result.

What we see from talking to CIOs across industries is that where skills gaps issues exist, they relate less to having specific cloud skills and centre more on mindset. So what are the gaps and how can companies seek to overcome them?

Think big – Infrastructure cloud services enable businesses to operate elastically, at a vastly increased scale. This gives the company an amazing opportunity to change the dynamics of how they operate. Instead of just migrating individual databases, think bigger, consolidating the various data sets you have around the business into a unified dataset. There are multiple benefits of this. At a base level, you can have more applications per server and manage them all as one, and with AI and machine learning becoming more prevalent, you can be prepared to take maximum use of these exciting emerging technologies by preparing for it now by creating a single data asset.

Data orchestration – Businesses are increasingly seeking to become data-driven. IT teams need to stop looking at data as by-product of processes and instead regard it as profit opportunity. This means thinking about how business information can be turned into actionable insights that lead to customer engagement and profitable growth.

Advanced data management – Data is the new oil for businesses: a huge source of potential wealth if mined, refined and distributed well. A core skill for enterprise IT teams is, therefore, how to store, manage and transport data. T

Hiring for the cloud era
Creating a team for the future will inevitably affect the hiring process. Rather than look for new employees from traditional, external sources, most likely direct competitors, CIOs should aim to recruit from cloud-native companies. These staff are used to handling data in the cloud and have the required cloud skills.

Internal talent
Don’t forget you already might have internal talent that has the potential to shine in a cloud world. Holding or attending ‘hackathons’ or offering existing staff the opportunity to volunteer to take part in new cloud projects could give you the chance to spot skills you didn’t know the team possessed.

Protecting HR investments
Once an enterprise has upskilled its team, talent retention is important. This is to ensure that the business feels a positive benefit from its investment and that real change is given the time needed to take root.

Your competitive advantage
If enterprise IT teams can close the cloud skills gap, the rewards will be well worth the effort. The renewed, high-performing team will quickly demonstrate value to the C-suite and other key corporate stakeholders, while enabling a core competitive differentiator for the business.

Civil rights laws to the digital economy

digital_age_cat_page-1Today’s white supremacist and neo-Nazi social media trolls have much in common with the angry mobs that beat civil rights activists at lunch counters, defaced houses of worship and stood in the schoolhouse door. Both then and now, these hateful forces sought to disenfranchise and exclude minorities and women from modern society. The tech industry has catalyzed a new generation of hate groups looking to provoke tensions and precipitate violence online. The time has come to deploy civil rights laws to the digital economy.

Hateful activities on social media platforms aimed at racial, ethnic and religious minorities, women and the LGBTQ community are not harmless; they terrorize and interfere with a person’s engagement with the digital public square in a manner that chills speech and stifles the civic participation of entire targeted communities. Hateful trolls promote and incite real-world hate crimes as well, causing their targets to live in fear for their safety.

It has become clear that major online platforms are either unable or unwilling to fix the problem of online abuse.

Fifty years ago, the civil rights movement ushered in legislation that helped integrate brick-and-mortar commerce nationwide, through public accommodations laws and the sacrifice and dedication of countless men and women committed to combating racism and other forms of discrimination.

A public accommodation is a private business that offers its services to the public at large. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 created a means to combat unjust discrimination and segregation in many areas of the 20th century’s economy, transforming our nation for the better. Many of our civil rights milestones of the last fifty years would not be possible without the equal right to use public accommodations.

But because these laws were written decades ago, they did not anticipate the Internet. While public accommodations laws apply to online businesses in several states, like California and New York, some other state and federal laws have not yet addressed the issue. We can close these gaps by clarifying the definition of what counts as a public accommodation. While this proposal requires only brief legislation, the civil rights impact would be monumental. In the meantime, civil rights advocates should assertively use the state laws that clearly apply to online commerce.

Online public accommodations laws should protect civil rights in two key ways:

  1. First, it is illegal to interfere with, threaten, coerce, or otherwise impede a person’s use of a public accommodation because of their immutable characteristics, such as race or religion. Public accommodations laws, applied to large Internet platforms, should provide a direct recourse against some of the endemic harassment and intimidation of racial and religious minorities, women and members of the LGBTQ community on many platforms. In addition to being able to bring civil lawsuits, there are criminal laws to punish those who use violence or threats of violence to interfere with public accommodations.
  2. Second, it is illegal for a public accommodation to directly discriminate against individuals because of their immutable characteristics. If a business opens its doors to the general public, then it should not arbitrarily or unfairly deny service to anyone. Large Internet-enabled services should be no different. If a social media platform chooses to design their system in a way that is discriminatory, the company should be held legally accountable for that choice.

Public accommodations protections for large online platforms would not be burdensome to the Internet economy. Making websites safer for disenfranchised and targeted communities will increase their engagement and the profits derived from that engagement. Brick-and-mortar businesses have thrived under these laws for over fifty years; this would simply level the playing field between online and offline businesses to ensure equal expectations across all streams of commerce.

At the same time, we can protect online innovation and competition with reasonable size thresholds that exempt small Internet startups while holding large incumbents accountable. Extending public accommodations protections also does not require any changes to the Internet laws that built our modern online world, such as the Communications Decency Act. This proposal will not break the Internet.

Public accommodations laws are strong, established, tested, well-understood and balanced civil rights protections. They defend the dignity and equal opportunity of all individuals to participate fully in our society. Decades of experience have demonstrated their success in integrating many aspects of offline commerce. As hate and discrimination surge to threaten online communities, it is time to update our civil rights toolkit.

source:http://thehill.com

7 Digital skills are not optional in today’s tech savvy world (UNCTAD)

unctadNegative stereotypes about women and girls studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are among the impediments to an inclusive world where hi-tech solutions solve global problems, the 21st session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development(CSTD), hosted by UNCTAD, heard at a meeting in Geneva on 15 May.

An all-woman panel discussed the theme of building digital competencies to benefit from existing and emerging technologies, with a special focus on gender and youth dimensions.

Recalling that women had played pivotal roles in the history of computing, Shirley Malcom, head of the directorate of education and human resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said it was “refreshing” to see the CSTD focus on issues of gender and youth in its deliberations.

Meanwhile, Helena Dalli, Malta’s European affairs and equality minister, said female role models were an important factor in promoting more women to take up STEM subjects and pursue careers in science and technology.

Profound changes for all

Speaking in a video message, the meeting also heard from Geraldine Byrne Nason, chair of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, on the importance of coordination between intergovernmental bodies.

To help guide the conversation, UNCTAD prepared a background report, steered by Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s, division on technology and logistics, and head of the CSTD Secretariat.

Setting out the issues

The remarkable technological progress the world has seen recently is transforming the fabric of our lives. The profound changes – driven by the spread of new information and communications technologies (ICTs) – will affect everyone’s life and every country’s economy.

For example, sensor devices deployed all over the world are improving agricultural productivity and making it possible to map and control epidemic outbreaks. And digital platforms are creating new job opportunities.

But Big Data can unfortunately also be used to influence democratic processes – as the world witnessed in recent elections in the United States and Europe – and automation means that certain jobs will no longer be available for humans.

“Opaque algorithms can ‘bake-in’ bias and exclusion,” Ms. Malcom said.

Whether the effects of technological change will be more positive than negative depends on the getting the right skills into the right people’s hands.

Miriam Nicado García, rector of Cuba’s University of Informatics Sciences (UCI), explained how her university was a new venture, begun in 2002, that aimed to tackle this problem for her country. Software produced in Cuba for health, education, legal and tourism applications was being made available free to other countries, she said.

A skills mismatch

Estimates show that already by 2020 90% of new jobs will require ICT skills. Yet more than one-third of workers in developed countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) currently lack the digital know-how needed. And over half the population in these economies have no digital skills at all – with female employees usually being less tech savvy than their male counterparts.

“The more we let the gender divide grow, the more economic disparities will grow,” Ms. Dalli said when explaining the proactive measures Malta had taken, as a small island nation with few resources, to promote women in STEM fields.

In fact, technology in the workplace can affect women and men differently. ICT service jobs are normally well paid, but the share of women in such positions remains very low, especially in developing countries.

A recent survey among 13 major developed and emerging economies showed that female workers tend to hold low-growth or declining occupations, such as sales and administrative jobs.

Although women are less represented in sectors threatened by automation, such as manufacturing and construction, the report prepared by UNCTAD ahead of the event says that since there are few women in STEM job families, they may not be well placed in the economy to benefit from the increasing demand for workers with tech skills.

Such a mismatch between what businesses need and what job-seekers offer will slow economic growth significantly. What’s worse, portions of the population could become unemployable. And with unemployment levels already high in many parts of the world, such a situation would be devastating, not just for the individuals but also for their families and communities.

Getting the right skills in the hands of the workforce will be even more important in developing countries, where billions of young people will enter the job market in the coming decades.

In Africa alone, about 11 million young people will enter the labour market every year for the next decade. If governments don’t help equip new job seekers with the right skills, they may have to deal with rising youth unemployment.

However, according to Sophia Bekele, founder & CEO of DotConnectAfrica Group, whose works helps African women run tech start-ups, developing countries may have a competitive advantage over older, more developed markets.

“The global South has best opportunity to leapfrog in the digital economy instead of reinventing the wheel,” she said.

Four levels of digital competency

According to the UNCTAD report, four different levels of digital skills are needed during the journey from adopting new devices to creating new technologies.

“The most fundamental skill sets for individuals and companies in the digital era are capabilities to adopt new technologies,” the report says, adding that “digital literacy for all is a basic requirement for every citizen to participate fully in the digital society.”

So every country, no matter the stage of economic development, needs to have in place basic digital education and training programmes for all its citizens.

For people, being “digital literate” means being able to use the basic functions of common devices, such as a computer. For a business, it means “knowledge about ICT installations in the existing business system,” the report says.

But more and more professions, even beyond the ICT sector, require the ability to adapt and creatively use available technologies. And it is when a countries workforce can modify existing technology or design new systems and devices technologies that real value is added to the economy.

“To maximize the benefits of new technology, countries and companies in developing countries need to have the digital skills to introduce modifications to new technologies,” the report says. This is because advanced technologies are often designed for contexts – both technical and social – that differ from the realities of many developing economies, and therefore must be adapted to the local context, the report adds.

Adding a gender dimension to the issue of context, Ms. Malcom said that very often, time itself was a scarce commodity for women that policies designed to help them must reflect.

A moving target

Technology’s impact, however, extends well beyond the labour market, and being tech savvy has increasingly become important for enjoying a good quality of life in what has become and increasing digital world.

“With increasing numbers of software and applications being used to accomplish everyday communicational and informational tasks, basic knowledge of ICTs is now essential for citizens to solve everyday problems, as well as to engage in community activities,” the report says.

Digital skills are a multifaceted moving target. According to the report, six major drivers influence what technical competencies people need:

“Increasing globalization, extreme longevity, workplace automation, fast diffusion of sensors and data processing power, ICT-enabled communication tools and media, and the unprecedented reorganization of work driven by new technologies and social media, which are massively increasing collaboration opportunities.”

But the other, more specific digital competencies required will likely depend on the country’s economic specialization and industrial development.

For example, the report says, “Countries where the manufacturing sector dominates economic growth will require talents, experts and a workforce with specialized skills in industrial robotics, automation and the Internet of Things.”

While the skills that workers need to use technology increases, so does the list of the complementary soft skills necessary to perform in the digital economy.

Human skills in a robot’s world

But digital skills are not enough to adapt to changing labour markets demands. Paradoxically, as work becomes more automated, the unique human skills that cannot be easily replaced by machines become ever more important.

So building and strengthening skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, will be essential to create the flexibility required for the current and future demands for the workplace, the report says.

The need for human creativity and innovation helps explain why professions like engineering and science are less at threatened by digitalization and computerization, the report says. Likewise, occupations that involve sophisticated communication skills will also be in a better position in the digital era.

“For example, natural language processing algorithms can detect emotions underlying text, but are often inaccurate in comprehending sarcasm, humour or irony,” the report says.

Finally, even if computers and robots could perform every task, economies would still rely on people to come up with the new businesses ideas. That’s why the report calls on governments to equip people with the digital entrepreneurship skills.

source: http://unctad.org