WORK AND THE FUTURE
What the future of work looks like — and what it means for SA's job crisis
New technologies, especially robotics and artificial intelligence, are advancing faster than an average CEO can keep track. So does this hold promise for SA’s future workers, or jobless despair?
In Dongguan City, an industrial heartland about 75km from Hong Kong, a factory offers a chilling example of the power of technology. The cellphone manufacturer, owned by China’s Changying Precision Technology Company, once employed 650 people. But by 2015, just 60 people managed 60 robotic arms, which now do much of the work producing parts for cellphones. For those who still believe robots can’t reproduce what humans do, these Chinese robots are vastly more productive than the humans were — and turn out phones with far fewer defects. Of the workers left, "three are assigned to check and monitor the production line, and the others are tasked with monitoring computer control systems", Futurism editors Kristin Houser and June Javelosa wrote in a report earlier this year. And even the 60 humans at the plant could drop to just 20, says general manager Luo Weiqiang. That would be a 97% reduction in the original workforce. It’s a disturbing case study of the disruptive power of the fourth...