A Tale of Two Classes: Labor in the Era of Connected Intelligence

A Mobile Future Forward Paper

  • Ken Denman and Sarla Sharma

Advances in machine learning will continue to create efficiencies in productivity and accelerate progress of many industries.  New industries are being formed and old ones are transforming or disappearing.  We have already seen changes in many industries, for example, Health, Retail, Manufacturing, Finance and transportation continue to be shaped by startups and introduction of new technologies and business models. Main driving factors for technological advances are productivity growth and profits. As machines are able to do the job better and faster, the demand for labor for a particular skill-sets declines and in some cases jobs are virtually eliminated leaving negative impact on the society.

The Connected Intelligence era is for certain going to have an impact on policy, jobs, education, and competitiveness. Initially, automation generally cannot compete with lower wages, giving emerging markets a temporary advantage but what happens when some of the mundane tasks that were outsourced can be completely automated? When the cost of automation drops to a level when outsourcing stops making sense, we will see the movement in net jobs across borders. There will also be a net transfer of jobs from humans to machines in the other direction.[1]

The confluence of mobile broadband network, smarter devices, pervasive connectivity, and our ability to program the intelligence around us is going to dramatically change every industry vertical from the ground up. Connected Intelligence Era is going to define the next phase of human evolution. Due to this intelligence, an accelerated automation is upon us.  A lot of routine jobs will be impacted which can have a profound impact on the society. However, with a right set of policies and a progressive jobs framework, one can turn a stark reality into a golden age of job creation.

[1] Connected Intelligence Era: The Golden Age of Mobile, Chetan Sharma Consulting, 2014, http://www.chetansharma.com/publications/connected-intelligence-era-the-golden-age-of-mobile/