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Retraining may be the best way to ease impending tech-driven job losses

February 22, 2018

It’s inevitable that automation will put some people out of work—but our attention may be best focused on helping those individuals, not slowing the march of tech. So says a new report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank.

Embrace advances: Contrary to some suggestions that governments should slow down technological job erosion through policies like robo-taxes, for example, the ITIF urges the uptake of automation to boost productivity. But, it argues, we should also be helping those who are put out of jobs as much as possible.

Retrain, don’t support: Still, there are many means of helping. And rather than paying out a universal basic income to make unemployment bearable, says ITIF, governments should be re-educating workers and finding them new jobs as soon as possible in order to keep the economy strong.

The bottom line: Automation could be a net benefit to society. Better to focus on helping the displaced, the report says, rather then slowing the whole economy to save jobs.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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