Automation, AI could become threats

by Krizzel Canlas09 Nov 2017
Automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital transformation issues facing the country could become threats, if not addressed immediately, New Zealand tech leader says.

The TechLeaders Executive is a newly formed network aiming to face New Zealand’s unprecedented growth and change in tech, which is now the nation’s fastest-growing sector.

TechLeaders brought together executives from some of New Zealand’s biggest companies and organisations. It has been set-up with the support of NZTech.

NZTech CEO Grame Muller said they have just met in Auckland and all agreed AI and other digital changes will greatly impact on many of today’s jobs in coming years – even the income of many Kiwi families they say.

Muller said: “If left unaddressed these opportunities will turn to challenges and potential threats leading to increased social and economic difficulties and a strain on government resources.

“The TechLeaders discussed how we can help prepare New Zealand’s future workforce. Being at the forefront of technology change these senior executives have insight into the pace of change and see critical elements in ensuring Kiwi families all have jobs in the future,” he said.

Muller said New Zealand has to ensure that its education system is developing the skills needed for a future workforce, in particular, an understanding of digital technologies and collaborative working practices.

“We need to start developing policy and a national shared purpose around how-to re-train or upskill current employees who work in jobs that may change or disappear rapidly due to technology.

The TechLeaders has identified a number of ways where technology leaders and the industry could play an active role in helping secure the future of work for Kiwis. These include:
  • Bringing a stronger connection with education to help prepare students, support teachers and support the introduction of the new digital technology curriculum.
  • Working with government to help reshape the national conversation, away from the robots that are replacing jobs, to a more positive view that encourages upskilling.
TechLeaders chair David Kennedy said: “We are well-placed people to help tackle the difficult questions that need to be addressed, to ensure future work for generations of Kiwis.

“We all agree that tech leaders and industry have a role and responsibility to guide and support initiatives to retrain people for the new skills paradigm brought on by technological change. The development of the next generation of workers is also critical,” he said.

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