On November 21st, 2019, the Institute for Politics and Society organized a conference to discuss the future of the workforce in terms of automation. The speakers included Martina Dlabajová, Member of the European Parliament, and Thomas Roca, Data Strategist, Microsoft & LinkedIn.
Martina Dlabajová pointed out that policymakers are aware of the situation right now; — the labour market is changing, the supply and demand will soon be different — but in terms of being able to provide adequate legislature, it is necessary to be well informed about the type of skills that will be needed in the next few years. She feels responsible to make an opportunity for the active population out of these changes. According to her, the biggest question mark lays above the rate of regulation of flexibility of work in the future. It is logical that with digitalization and automation, the need to actually getting people together for work will decrease. Therefore, people will probably call for more home offices and part times; how much should it be regulated? And that is not the only challenge for the new legislature: an example of automation from the US is the COMPAS software (Correctional Offender Management Profiling for Alternative Sanctions), that created a scandal after it had been proved that the machine-based algorithm was discriminating the black in favor of the white people. Dlabajová reacted to this rather unfortunate example of automation in practice by stating that she is aware of how important is to be careful with legislation at the moment. She then claimed to have involved The Ethical Committee to participate in making legislature suggestions to avoid such ethical issues in the future.
Thomas Roca opened with some data: the EU has got half of AI specialists in comparison with the US. But, the US active population is twice as big as the European one. This means that the ratio of AI workers is quite the same but in Roca’s opinion, it will not be enough in the next couple of years. Another problem is with the homogeneity of AI workers, there are in majority “white young men“ and it is always advantageous to have a wider range of different points of view. These AI workers focus on the technologies and projects they find interesting and useful, a different generation or a different ethnical background would include different specialization. He said the Czech Republic is one of the European leaders in terms of digital skills in general but these skills do not make a person an AI specialist. Transformation is not that common, the current system is rather ineffective. His opinion of regulation in the workplace is that it is certainly needed, a wise regulation is a basis for maintaining trust.