Autonomous vehicles to have profound impact on labour, US gov study says

11 Aug 2017

A study published by the US Economics and Statistics Administration explored the employment impact of autonomous vehicles, and concluded that such vehicles are expected to have a potentially profound impact on labour demand. While workers in motor vehicle operator jobs might have difficulty finding alternative employment, other on-the-job drivers (who use vehicles to deliver services or travel to work sites, for example) have a more diversified set of work activities, knowledge and skills, and are likely to be able to adapt to the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles. They may also be more likely to benefit from greater productivity and better working conditions offered by autonomous vehicles. The study also notes that the extent to which autonomous vehicles could eliminate certain occupations, resulting in job loss, while changing the mix of tasks involved in other occupations, is still not clear.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) includes a wide range of Internet-connected devices, from highly digitalised cars, home appliances (e.g. fridges), and smart watches, to digitalised clothes that can monitor health. IoT devices are often connected in wide-systems, typically described as 'smart houses' or 'smart cities'.

It is frequently mentioned that the Internet is changing the way in which we work. ICTs have blurred the traditional routine of work, free time, and sleep (8+8+8 hours), especially in multinational corporation working environment. It is increasingly difficult to distinguish where work starts and where it ends. These changes in working patterns may require new labour legislation, addressing such issues as working hours, the protection of labour interests, and remuneration.

 

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