Update Post: November 30, 2023 5:07 pm
More than a hundred people from the field of Labor – ministers, secretaries of State, social partners and representatives of the OECD and the ILO – met this week in Santiago de Compostela to address the challenges of the future of work. Spain, within the framework of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union, placed emphasis on the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its implications for labor relations, because its presence is increasing and is beginning to concern Workers. “Three out of five workers are worried about the future because they see that technology could end up replacing them,” said the director of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs of the OECD, Stefano Scarpetta, in one of the panels at the event, in reference to cia to a 2022 survey.
However, the representative of the ‘think than’ of the main economies referred to a paradox whereby the jobs that should be most exposed to this technology are not the ones most at risk of being replaced by it. “The jobs most exposed to AI are those with medium and high qualifications,” he said. Although he clarified that in the latter, AI operated as a complement to the performance of the most trained people, which does not happen in positions that require little or no qualification. “The risk of substitution occurs above all in less qualified workers,” Scarpertta said at the international forum, referring to jobs that used to be performed by young people while they were studying and have disappeared due to AI.
The European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmitt, recognized the efforts being carried out by the OECD to provide information on the development and implementation of algorithms in the workplace at the beginning of the debate. In 2022 – in the midst of the emergence of generative artificial intelligence – they interviewed more than 2,000 companies and 3,000 workers to find out their impressions. The results showed that less than 10% of companies had incorporated this technology, although in the case of the largest companies this group amounted to a third. In this same survey, three out of five workers confessed to being worried about whether this technology could leave them unemployed, but they also referred to positive returns.
Three out of four professionals reported that the use of AI had improved the quality of their work, their performance, but also their enjoyment, given that this technology took over the most “tedious” activities, allowing them to dedicate themselves to more interesting activities. In addition, they had noticed improvements in their physical and mental health due to this improvement in their work dynamics, as shared by Scarpetta. While on the business side, they not only cited economic reasons to streamline processes or even replace old jobs – that too – but they also pointed out the lack of unskilled workers among the reasons that had led them to introduce it.
The Head of Employment, Labor and Social Affairs of the OECD recognized in the forum held recently that there is evidence about the capacity of the Artificial Inteli Inteli Inteli Inteli Gencia to Substitute Workers, However, He Called the Politically Responsible Social Agents to bet on training not only in digital skills, but in those skills that AI cannot supply at the moment. “We need people with complementary skills to AI, human, cognitive, socio-emotional skills, the ability to discriminate what is right from what is wrong, critical thinking”, something that he defended has to be from compulsory education but must be present in continuous training.
The pending task: continuous training
The panel of experts and authorities within the framework of the Work agreed in pointing out that continuous training was the main tool that Europe should use to respond to the challenges that had been outlined throughout the conference, not only the governance of algorithms, but also democracy at work and the green digital transition. Currently, workers in the most cutting-edge sectors, who are generally those with higher education, are those who have the opportunity to continue training and acquire new skills, while employees with more basic education who work in unskilled positions do not. , which has given rise to a significant gap that, in the opinion of policy makers, must be reversed so that the digital transition does not give rise to “first- and second-class workers.”
Precisely, these processes of ‘upskilling’ – new skills – and ‘reskilling’ – professional retraining – will be key to ensuring that people’s work is complementary, instead of disappearing. Portugal is one of the countries that has placed the most emphasis on this issue, as explained by the Minister of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho. But they must go hand in hand with regulations that guarantee that workers are aware that this technology is used and for what fines, as is reflected in the digital platforms directive that is in place due to the dead discrepancies between countries. . who ask for more flexibility and those who demand more ambition, a group that leads Spain after approving the ‘rider law’.
This transmission of information to worker representatives – which is already included in the Spanish standard – is not only important as a legitimate right of workers, but according to OECD data it is key in terms of productivity. “The workers were aware of the use of AI and their performance was much better, that of the company in general was much better, so, to explain what is being done, the participation of the workers is essential,” defended Scarpetta. . , who highlighted the importance of SMEs not being left behind either in the implementation of this technology, or in the involvement of their employees.