Naive to believe new technology will cause no job loss: Meity secretary

Krishnan said there will be substantial productivity enhancement in certain sectors which will then free up a lot of people

   
meity secretary on job loss with new technology

Traditional jobs in the BPO sector are drying up and it will be naive to be under the impression that there will be no job loss due to the advancement of technology, a senior government official said on Thursday.

While speaking at CII’s Global Economic Policy forum, Ministry of Electronics and IT, Secretary S Krishnan in response to a question on the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs said that there will be fear among people but equally skilling will become an important task to help people move up in the value chain.

“We will be naive if we believe that there will be no job losses as a result of new technology. The comparison to the Industrial Revolution is also very apt in that regard. When you had greater mechanisation than naturally, jobs were lost and there were many people who were extremely fearful of job losses,” he said.

Krishnan said there will be substantial productivity enhancement in certain sectors which will then free up a lot of people.

“I think, then what happens is, what is incumbent on the government and the industry to do is to really upskill a lot of these people so that they can occupy higher level jobs which will also be possibly an outcome of rising incomes and rising aspirations,” Krishnan said.

He said that there are many repetitive tasks and many other traditional jobs that can possibly be done significantly faster and effectively by artificial intelligence tools.

“Which means we have to then look for where meaningful jobs will arise, where more personalised services are required. Those are the kinds of jobs where human intervention becomes much more important,” Krishnan said.

The Indian job market is estimated to witness 22 per cent churn over the next five years, with top emerging roles coming from AI, machine learning and data segments, according to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report that was released in May.

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