The Globotics Upheaval | Richard Baldwin

Summary of: The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work
By: Richard Baldwin

Introduction

Welcome to the fascinating world of ‘The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work’ by Richard Baldwin. This book summary explores the rapid shift in global economies and labor markets, fueled by technological advancements and the rise of artificial intelligence. Delve into a comprehensive analysis of the forces driving the Globotics Transformation – a unique convergence of globalization and robotics that is reshuffling the world of work. Discover the impact of telemigrants (international online freelance workers), the white-collar jobs most at risk of automation, and insights into the future of work, while recognizing humanity’s role in an increasingly automated world.

The Impact of Innovation

For over 1,000 years, land production was the backbone of economies until the advent of steam engines in the 1700s which ushered in a period of remarkable innovation and economic expansion. Rapid mechanization led to job displacement and gave birth to new occupations causing social unrest while the rise of industrialization widened income inequality. The “special century” of 1870 to 1970 saw an incredible chain reaction of innovations that created more jobs and prosperity. However, the injection of technology into our socio-politico-economic systems is displacing jobs faster than our system can replace them, creating a pressing conversation about the future of work.

The Impact of Computer Automation

In 1973, the computer chip brought about the Service Transformation that revolutionized industries, leading to a rise in service sector jobs and a decline in manufacturing jobs. The US manufacturing sector went from 30% in the 70s to 10% in 2010, as emerging economies like China took over manufacturing output. Communication technology favored college-educated professionals, while unskilled workers struggled. The switch from capital to knowledge created more value, benefiting companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google. However, US and UK blue-collar workers were hit hard, leading to Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

Globotics Transformation

The human brain struggles with exponential growth in technology, but networks and combinations of components trigger innovation and AI. The Globotics Transformation is the resulting disruption in the labor market due to globalization and robotics advancing.

Telemigrants: The Future of Freelance Work

The rise of telemigrants, international online freelance workers, is disrupting the global job market. Workers from countries like India, China, and Thailand offer white-collar skills, such as accounting and programming, for a fraction of what a European or US worker would charge. Platforms like Upwork.com connect telemigrants with employers globally, with English being the lingua franca. However, machine learning is fueling translation software that will open the market to non-English speakers, leading to a “tsunami” of global talent competing with English speakers.

The impact of globalization and robotics is driving the gig economy, with the number of freelance workers increasing exponentially. Moreover, technology is solving challenges of remote work, with telepresence robots like Emily Dreyfus’ “Embot” acting as a substitute for physical presence during meetings in different locations.

While these advancements are transforming the workplace, some argue that certain sectors, such as emergency response units, will continue to require an edge that only human interaction can provide. Nonetheless, the future of work looks to be ever-evolving with the rise of telemigrants leading the charge.

The Future of White-Collar Jobs

The rise of robots will soon affect every white-collar job. AI “employees” equipped with empathy features are already helping customers in banks. Meanwhile, low-end robots handle back-office processing tasks in finance, HR, and customer service. Jobs requiring physical presence, such as farming and childcare, will be less affected. But telemigrants and robots may displace many jobs that can be done remotely. Approximately half of all management, business, and financial work can be sent abroad. The “cottage industry” of the pre-Industrial Revolution era is making a comeback as more people work remotely. Unfortunately, it is easier and faster to eliminate jobs than to create them. Certain industries, including office administration, retail, construction, security, food preparation, transportation, medicine, pharmaceuticals, law, finance, and journalism, will suffer the most from the displacement of workers. The loss of jobs will lead to social upheaval. Digitech will create new job opportunities, but will they come quickly enough to offset the damage? Work is changing, and humanity will remain important, but the question is whether society will adapt quickly enough.

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