The Changing Workforce and Leveraging Technology

For better and worse, technology is here. I’m not talking about your remote control, but something much more integrated, seemless and covert. Technology is changing the way we work and work itself. On one hand it is replacing mundane activities that humans might toil over and can better use their time to develop skills and talents in more human intelligence tasks.

Technology can help or hinder and decisions about tech adoption can be muddled with clear and unclear impacts.

In large organizations, technology can have a dehumanizing effect.

An organization may be put into context and appraised from the over all ethical approach towards workers. This can be termed ‘Corporate Social Responsibility‘. But here I am a hypocrite as I have purchased from Amazon myself – have you? We have all read that platforms have a designed outcome and intention to them – thus creating a sort of behavioral control and acquiescence to the process. Crowdsourcing is the same – it may be used for profit or for social progress. Can the two coexist?

Crowdsourcing is a great example of labour dissolution. Take for example the rise of sites that offer freelance jobs and tasks that may be jointly worked on over the internet. These workers have no protection or insurance and compete for wages below full-time work levels. Amazon has its own crowdsource platform for work. Here is a sample list of top crowdsource sites for freelancers.

Freelance work is mostly high risk and temporary leaving a portion of labour and the economy in more uncertain territory. Social security and labour assistance are coming in the form of a couple progressive policies.

  1. Guaranteed Universal Income – with the robotization of jobs, people are left without income yet productivity remains, thus the rational that a basic income would be less expensive and make more sense as jobs become automated. Cost of living can act as a disincentive for people to take low-paying or temporary work. A basic income, which is paid regardless, would remove that barrier.
  2. Worker Support and Retraining – In Germany (as they seem to have very forward thinking around labour and thus their productivity is among the best), those who were in paid employment for at least a year beforehand still receive 60% of their net salary for the first year and 67% if they provide for a family. Costs for rent and heating are covered as well. Any personal savings, though, are taken into account and reduce whatever is paid as an unemployment benefit.

More explanation here at Huffington Post about support for a Universal Basic Income.