All sectors to see robo-disruption
The Productivity Commission has again warned of the rise of the machines.
The Federal Government agency has released a new paper - Digital Disruption: What do governments need to do? - to discuss the disruptive spread of services like Uber and Air BnB, and what it might mean for other industries.
Productivity Commission chair Peter Harris says machine learning, artificial intelligence and automation will put a lot of jobs at risk.
“There's little doubt that in some sectors there will be dislocation of labour and dislocation of capital,” Mr Harris told reporters.
“It's not just a cost to employees, it will be a cost to certain businesses as well.
“Things like 3D printing are going to have an impact. Right now it's more of a niche product but over time, you're going to see this applied to manufacturing.”
Interestingly, the same concern that makes many worry about the rise of machines may also help prevent it.
“The majority of jobs in our economies today are services kind of jobs and that requires some form of human interface. So simply saying that we have automated or can automate something doesn't mean to say it will be readily acceptable to consumers,” Mr Harris said.
“You can't necessarily imagine that a doctor will be replaced by a robot to whom you will speak and get an analysis.”
But still, the Productivity Commission says jobs will be lost, and appropriate social safety nets like Medicare will have to be maintained.
New apps and digital services can cause headaches for governments, law-makers and regulators, but Mr Harris says it is important not to simply try to ban them.
He said conflict was often caused by the application of laws that were written for different purposes and in a different era.
“Giving regulators the power to offer temporary periods of holiday from a regulatory impact to allow an idea to unfold while ensuring consumers are protected - that sort of initiative and flexible thinking is tremendously important for governments if they're going to allow creative ideas to unfold and to deliver benefits not just for consumers but for employees and investors in the future,” Mr Harris said.