Editor’s note: In the second of a two-part report abot robotics’ threat to jobs for humans in the future, Geoff Woollacott, Senior Strategy Consultant and Principal Analyst at Technology Business Research, outlines ideas from IBM to help people stay employed. (Note: Part one focuses on Bill Gates’ idea of taxing robots.)
HAMPTON, N.H. – IBM acts on a best-in-class way forward via public-private partnerships
That IBM would oppose a national automation tax makes sense on many levels, beyond the simple notion that it is just a big business trying to defend the status quo. The tax implications would shift ROI calculations and delay business automation initiatives further, but we ought not to seize on that component and lose sight of the exceptional conduct IBM displays in corporate responsibility. IBM is investing capital in public-private partnerships and building trust in the social community on par with the trust it has enjoyed for over 100 years in the business community. IBM has:
Taken the lead on the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-Tech) education centers that address four years of high school education and a two-year associate’s degree, focusing on augmenting the math and critical thinking skills necessary for what IBM calls “New Collar Jobs.”
Pushed hard to ensure education access becomes more democratically available to all. IBM situated the first P-Tech center in Harlem, N.Y., and has been engaged with the Girls Who Code Foundation to encourage more women to enter STEM professions.
Election-style rhetoric has increased to the point where it feels as though politicians are always campaigning, while the people’s business they are elected to do goes unattended until we reach a crisis. Here’s hoping the lack of trust in our national civic leaders can be contained, and that innovation and consensus building can continue accelerating at the state and local level, where Moore’s Law Economics allows even the smallest of operational entities access to bestin-class technologies. Only through continued innovation, dialogue and consensus building can we accelerate our ability to change culturally to align with the rate and pace of innovation flowing from best-in-class technology companies such as IBM and Microsoft.
[VIDEO: Watch a video of IBM CEO and Chair Ginni Rometty talking about “new collar jobs” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJbi5Jp8b58 ]
Business consultants understand that in disruptive times, policies are the last to change. The accelerations, as Friedman calls them, require that we learn how to shift policies more quickly and more fluidly. To do this, we will have to rebuild trust in our national policy leaders by having the people take a leadership role by setting examples of how to accommodate and include as many people as possible.
In the end it seems that Gates and IBM have more commonalities of intention than differences. IBM intends to take a leadership role in collaborating with local civic leaders, while Gates wants to place his trust in the federal government at a time when that trust is in desperate need of being re-earned. Until the political climate changes, and our elected officials display leadership in building a consensus on these national and global economic challenges, we are better served by flagship corporations such as IBM engaging at the local level trialing new education and training approaches to align with the accelerating changes to our way of working triggered by technology innovation.