Robots and Jobs: Technological unemployment in the ICT Revolution

Mark Knell, NIFU Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education

This lecture is it is about the transformative and employment effects of new technology. It is mainly about economic history and the history of economic thought, and considers various theoretical and empirical aspects of the employment impact of technical change and technological learning. But it will also draw some general conclusions about the nature and potential impact of the relationship between technology and employment in general and on the future role of robotics in particular.

The importance of technological unemployment idea dates back to the first industrial revolution, and has been part of the theory and policy debate since then. There have been five successive technological revolutions since first Arkwright water-powered mill that mechanized the cotton industry in 1771. We are currently in the middle of the fifth industrial revolution, or what might be described as the information and communication technological (ICT) revolution, which began with the first commercially viable microprocessor introduced by Intel in 1971. The transformative character of the techno-economic paradigm led to the development of personal computers, digital control instruments, software, and application of integrated circuits in a wide variety of products and services. And more recently, robotics, artificial intelligence, computerized algorithms, mobile sensors, 3-D printing, and unmanned vehicles are here and transforming human life. These new technologies have led to renewed concerns whether any of the “compensating mechanisms” will work as automation and robots replace workers. What might happen in the workplace over the next twenty years becomes the interesting question.

About the speaker

Mark Knell is Research Professor at the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) in Oslo Norway. His research focuses on knowledge generation, innovation, productivity growth, user-producer linkages and technology transfer and spillovers in both the European and global contexts. This research involved developing econometric models of firm behaviour, structural models of industries, and creating databases that include science and technology indicators. Mark obtained masters and doctorate from the New School for Social Research, Graduate Faculty in New York City; has published widely in international peer reviewed journals and edited books; been a lecturer in economics at several universities in the US and Europe; an economic affairs officer in the UN system; and a researcher at the TIK centre in the University of Oslo. He helped develop and obtain funding from the European Commission, Nordic Innovation Centre and Norwegian Research Council.

Venue: Conference room (room 0.16 & 0.17)

Date: 06 April 2017

Time: 12:00 - 13:00  CET