Anyone remember 2019? When all the talk was of AI and how it would impact jobs? The Green revolution and let’s not forget Greta Thunberg and the climate emergency.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair commented (paraphrasing) on the wasted energy over Brexit discussions compared with the challenges AI would bring to the working population. He was both right and wrong.
Since Covid-19 we are more concerned with the impact this virus has on our lives and jobs than anything else. It has given rise to the thought that we can build a new tomorrow post Covid.
However, it was said by an academic recently that it would take a pandemic per year for a century for it to meet Greta’s brave new world of climate stability.
Whilst it’s lovely to hear larks ascending over the tarmac of my local international airport rather than jets screaming for altitude, the knock on effects are only just starting to unravel. A simple example being that the footfall through the airport helps the local council pay for old people’s homes. Currently there is no footfall and the council is in serious debt. Obviously there are the millions of jobs on the line from the absence of travel. Countries too where tourism is the major source of income.
How many people made redundant as a result of the pandemic can be mopped up by Green jobs? I doubt it would be many. Employers are more concerned with trying to keep employees safely apart than employ more to add to the nightmare of distancing.
So, does AI present the same level of threat to jobs now as it did in 2019? Probably not.
I don’t know if I’ve missed something but I haven’t heard much about the climate emergency this year or indeed about single use plastics (other than the shortage of them).