How ready is Australia for the robotics and artificial intelligence revolution?

24 December 2016

Per Capita research economist Warwick Smith on ABC News 24 discussing Australia’s prospects in the face of the coming artificial intelligence and robotics revolution.

“The Lucky Country was said ironically. It was a warning, not something meant to be taken literally.”

“We have progressively become more narrowly focused on occupation specific education. We should be doing more in terms of training people in critical thinking, problem solving and teamework… essentially in┬áversatility. There’s not much point in predicting too far into the future what skills are going to be required. Things are changing too fast.”

“The threat is on such a large scale that we really need to tackle it with government policy. One of the key issues is how we treat the unemployed. Currently we treat the unemployed punitively – effectively punishing them for being unemployed even though there are fewer jobs than there are job seekers. We need to shift that mentality I think. Rather than punishing the unemployed we need to support. Punishing them for not being in a job that doesn’t exist is cruel.”

“You really can’t live on the dole in any meaningful sense in Australia and there are going to be more and more people on the dole either temporarily or, potentially, for quite a long time and we need to think about how we treat those citizens.”