The future of labour in the digital era – Ubiquitous Computing, Virtual Platforms, and Real-time Production
Ubiquitous computing, virtual platforms, the integration of robots in real-time production and services – all these developments drastically change the economy. In some European counties heated debates concern consequences for employment and education. The ITA is coordinating an EPTA report on the subject, the results will be discussed at a final conference at the Austrian Parliament in October 2016. EPTA is the network of European parliamentary technology assessment. The report will include results from 16 countries and regions as well as a EU-wide overview. In the digital era, a broad range of labour-related trends and developments require political attention: At the individual level, the ubiquity of mobile telecommunications devices increasingly shifts the boundaries between private and family lives, and work spheres, and finds expression in a distorted work-life balance or in stress brought on by almost continuous multi-tasking. From an organisational perspective, the trends towards crowd-work, peer-to-peer platforms, and the sharing economy are disrupting traditional sectoral structures, markets and ways of working, such as in tourism, mobility, commerce, and software production. Furthermore, cyber-physical systems (or the Internet of Things) usher in a novel stage of digitally integrated industrial production and continual transformation of services. Robots continue to replace not only industrial workers, but spread to health care, cleaning, and other areas; even cognitive tasks formerly exclusively performed by humans.
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Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA)