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Skills upgrade urged to ease AI impact on jobs

Skills upgrade urged to ease AI impact on jobs

MONDAY, August 06, 2018
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A JAPANESE government report has highlighted the need to address the effects of artificial intelligence (AI) and other technological innovations on the country’s labour market.

The annual report on the Japanese Economy and Public Finance, submitted to a meeting of the Cabinet by Toshimitsu Motegi, minister in charge of economic revitalisation, stressed the importance of encouraging individuals to improve their skills while making new technologies available to supplement the labour force.
The report examined how the increasing use of AI and the Internet of Things — technology that connects devices and objects through the internet — will affect the country’s employment outlook.
The report said jobs that involve routine tasks, such as clerical work and accounting, will decrease. On the other hand, demand will rise for high-expertise professions and positions that require advanced communication skills, such as sales.
“The development of personnel who can lead technological innovations and who have specialised skills that cannot be easily replaced by new technology is an urgent matter,” the report said.
It estimates that if companies increase the time and money they invest in employees by 1 per cent per person through training and other means, labour productivity will increase by about 0.6 per cent.
The report also noted that workers benefit by taking initiative in developing their careers. The results of a follow-up survey revealed that those who returned to school after graduation and who enrolled in self-development |programs had higher annual incomes than those who did not. 
The annual income for those who took such initiatives was about 100,000 yen higher after two years and 160,000 yen higher after three years, compared to those who did not.
By enrolling in self-development programs, those who hold jobs that mostly involve routine tasks can increase their chance of securing a specialised position by two to four percentage points, the report also found.
The paper cited US trade policy and other countries’ subsequent reactions as threats to the nation’s economic recovery.