The OECD has estimated creation of over 133 million new jobs by 2022 in the shake-up between humans and machines. At the same time, 75 million jobs, however, may be displaced, it was revealed at the World Government Summit in Dubai. The Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) called on governments and institutions around the world to collaborate far more closely around the Fourth Industrial Revolution to harness opportunities of technological change to end poverty, curb inequalities, confront discrimination and ensure that people are not left behind.
Addressing a plenary session, ‘The Future of the Economy in the Age of 4IR’, at the seventh World Government Summit (WGS 2019) here in Dubai, OECD Secretary-General Jos’ Angel Gurr’a said it was vital that countries use digital technologies as a great equalizer. He cautioned governments against creating a situation where they have to look after people who are unable to participate in a new digitally-driven economy.
“The digital transformation can change the world, but we have to create a level playing field. In OECD countries alone, we estimate up to half of all people will be displaced or affected by technology," he said.
"How do you empower the half of the workforce that will be affected? How do you provide the skills that will allow them to profit? What do you do with the hundreds of millions of youth who have not yet been incorporated into this new order?? Gurria asked, in response to questions by moderator Becky Anderson.
The OECD's projections suggest that one billion people worldwide lack the necessary digital literacy and skills to participate in the digital economy, with Gurria pointing out that uneven broadband access means that less than half the world's population uses the internet.
Globally, 200 million fewer women are online than men. Gurria said countries across the world are at different stages of the digital revolution and some people will be left behind.
“Even in developed countries like the UK, you have cities just a few miles apart, in which you have 10 years' difference in life expectancy. How do you deal with the responsibility to protect the vulnerable? How do you not create a situation where the state becomes a great provider of assistance?? he asked. “The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have its upsides and downsides. It's our challenge and duty to harness the upside, and mitigate the downside,” he said.