Automation is the new buzzword in many mining circles these days and a new report by the Northern Policy Institute is shedding light on how the advent of robotic technologies could impact the economy in Northern Ontario.
Some say automation could result in increased productivity, income and standards of living; however, others are concerned new technologies could accelerate the pace of change and bring unprecedented occupational disruption and unemployment.
The impact of automation could be profound, the NPI says. It changes the nature of work and the demand for skills, and it benefits some workers while putting others at risk. The report also mentions that the substitution of jobs by robots raises concerns about the government’s ability to collect taxes.
“The majority of job losses (to automation) have been in occupations involving routine tasks such as retail salespersons and cashiers, that required a lower level of education and skills,” Bakhtiar Moazzami, a professor of economics and econometrics at Lakehead University, says. Moazzami authored the automation report. “Employment in occupations involving non-routine cognitive tasks have indeed increased in all regions.”
This includes jobs that involve critical thinking, creativity, problem-solving and interpersonal interaction, such as managerial, professional and technical professions in the applied sciences.
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