Google boss, Huffington see technology boosting jobs

Google’s ultimate objective is to make people more intelligent, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said

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New technologies are capitalising on the jobs market and in the workplace, said Arianna Huffington and Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt at a London conference.

The Future of Work conference, staged at Lancaster House, looked at how technological advancements are changing the shape and even existence of traditional workplaces.

“While there have been a lot of concerns about machines and technology replacing humans, when it comes to jobs, in fact we are seeing that technology is allowing an enormous amount of new jobs to emerge,” Huffington, editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post online newspaper, told AFP.

The conference, held Thursday and Friday, brought together politicians, business leaders and intellectuals to debate the role of technology in tomorrow’s workplace.

Schmidt is among the optimists, claiming that while some people accuse technology of being responsible for the world’s ills, in reality it is often the solution.

He explained how several projects developed or supported by Internet giant Google had created improvements in education in Africa and the health of diabetics.

Google’s ultimate objective is to make people more intelligent, Schmidt said.

Meanwhile Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, from the prestigious Oxford University, have produced a study which estimates that 47 percent of jobs in the United States are at risk of becoming automated in the next 20 years.

Philip J. Jennings, general secretary of UNI Global Union, a Swiss-based international trade union, voiced concern about the millions of unemployed young people across the globe, saying it was essential to create a new social security net worldwide.

Several speakers insisted on the need for deep reforms to professional training to meet the challenge of huge numbers of jobs vanishing.

France’s digital affairs minister Axelle Lemaire called for “major French companies to make innovation imperative and a factor for survival”.

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