Our work for the future: from Artificial Intelligence to Actual Rights

From PS21 a wake up call to get ready for 2030 

It looks like it’s too early for concerns about robots stealing our jobs: over the next 12 years the struggle for work, rights and wages will still be entirely human.

“We are living the longest period of wages stagnation of the last 20 years”, says Kate Bell, head of Economic and Social Policy at the TUC; and the young audience of ‘Imagining Work In 2030′, one of the series of events of the international Think Tank ‘PS21’, definitely agrees with her.

“Employers are shifting their own risks onto workers through the progressive elimination of contracts and responsibilities such as sick pay and pension contributions, leaving workers with no protections or bargaining power, eliminating their capacity to ask pay rise. All this will have an impact on the public sector because if companies will not contribute to pensions and in-work poverty will increase, the state will have to fill the gap. The future of work depends on the dynamics of power between workers, companies and the state”. A wake up call from Bell…

Pity: we went excited at the humanoid white robot Star-Wars-style on the event invite…we thought we could go on dreaming in 3D about tech-miracles and Artificial Intelligence, with the illusion the only risk we would run in the future would be robots stealing some underskilled jobs. Instead so far the only blue collar robot hired full time in a fast food had been soon fired and kicked off with no notice period because was too slow

That means in 2030 we can’t hope to lay on the sofa watching on TV robots rallying for workers rights on our behalf. We will have to stand up ourselves and walk the path of history again or invent a new one to defend us from future techno-threats.

All this on global scale as Peter Apps suggests: as Reuters Global Affairs columnist he founded PS21, Project for the Study of the 21st century, to think out of the box of geopolitical space and observe global issues through the multiple perspective of diversified panels.

Along with the trade unionist Kate Bell, this time Frances Hudson global thematic strategist at Aberdeen Standard Life Investments, Luca Perletta Artificial Intelligence specialist at DigitalGlobe, Joe Dromey, senior research fellow at IPPR, Alvin Carpio, founder of The Fourth Group and Helen Gazzi, coach and former lawyer, answered the questions of the young public of workers anxious about their future.

Brussels, 16 January 2020 - It’s incredible how timely US, China and EU have set their, respective, future trade policies and agreements.


While Trump was, remotely, shaking hands with Xi via his vice ....in Washington, ending the war of tariffs, von der Leyen was in Strasbourg announcing the Green Deal, a set of commitments to ending CO2 emission by 2050 which will soon will be enshrined into law.


On the trade chapter of the document outlining the Green Deal EU it is clearly stated that “the EU’s most recent agreements all include a binding commitment of the Parties to ratify and effectively implement the Paris Agreement. The Commission will propose to make the respect of the Paris agreement an essential element for all future comprehensive trade agreements”.


As Trump announced US withdrawal from the Paris agreement and this will become effective next 4th November 2020 (the day after US presidential elections), the States would have been cut out from relevant trade agreements if it wouldn’t have been for the timely-strategic-preemptive-foxy trade deal with the unregulated China.


Just figure out what could have happened if Potus hadn’t come out of the blue with his cheering American style ‘let’s get over it’ in a grand coup de theatre in Beijing: a disaster.


A ongoing trade war with China might have put at risk his presidential elections (just in case he would survive the impeachment). Why? Because, yes, Americans are seduced by Trump’s ‘America first’ mantra, but for sure aren’t prepared to support an economic isolationism which would lead to an ‘America last’ mantra.


To avert the risk of loosing the elections Trump played the Xi card (a bit of a jolly jocker); yes there’s the chance to re-enter the Paris agreements after November 4th 2020, but this chance wouldn’t have been sustainable in an electoral campaign leaving the ground to the Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden and the other Democrats candidates to smash him down over an America with no trade deals either with the EU or China.


The historic deal Washington-Beijing is partial, so far, and the phase two will have to be agreed over 2021. A chance for Trump to play one more winning card to re-enter the White House.

On the EU side the Green Deal will inevitably give way to a legally grounded protectionism: any potential partners will have to commit to a strict compliance of

emissions reduction plan and strict manufacturing rules applied accordingly to environmental standards: meaning the EU will easily export and costly import.


If, as many economist forecast, manufacturing will relocate outside the EU in order to keep the costs low by non respecting sustainability laws (included workers rights) it’s something we will have to see the scale of.


For now the EU put in place a long term change impacting geopolitical economics and not just production chains, our way to consume, individual and collective education and ethical standards. And all this will be enforced: “The Commission has also been stepping up efforts to implement and enforce the sustainable development commitments of EU trade agreements, and these efforts will be further enhanced with the appointment of a Chief Trade Enforcement Officer”.

Copyright © TalkEurope.org 2019 

Copyright © TalkEurope.org 2019