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March-May 2017

Davos: Technology poses new risks to jobs, economies and society

Rapid advances in technology could have destabilising effects on employment and economic growth, and could exacerbate social unrest, the World Economic Forum (WEF) warned this week. Society’s failure to keep pace with technology change will be one of the key risks under discussion as business leaders, politicians, academics and non-government organisations assemble in Davos, Switzerland, from 17 to 20 January. The expansion of artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to destroy traditional white-collar jobs at a faster rate than new jobs are created, unless governments and the private sector collaborate to manage the problem, a report published in advance of the summit reveals. The WEF’s Global Risks 2017 report warns that, as a result of AI and other disruptive technologies, long-term jobs are giving way to self-employment in the “gig” economy, leaving individuals to shoulder more responsibility for the costs of unemployment, sickness and old age. Technology disruption, more than globalisation, deteriorating job prospects and ...

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