The internet of things (IOT), artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and automation—are just some of the new technologies that are set to change the economy and people’s lives. Consumers will mainly experience positive changes due to these technological changes. Meanwhile, workers are among those mostly on the losing side especially when these technologies cause displacement and redundancies that force firms to reduce their workforce.
Suspension of economic activities due to COVID has caused businesses to resort to technology to adapt. Retail, which is one of the sectors severely hit by the pandemic, has shifted online as more consumers embrace online shopping. The emergence of online retail platforms and the growing popularity of online payment systems facilitated the shift of retail activities online. The growth of online shopping also encouraged growth in logistics as the increase in online purchases created jobs in the form of door-to-door delivery services.
Skills upgrading is more important than ever for workers to be able to take on new jobs. The COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate technology adoption and automation, and unless workers are equipped with necessary skills, rapid technological change will result in inequities especially because the jobs most exposed to automation and obsolescence are those that are routine and require low skill sets usually carried out by workers in lower income groups.
FES Philippines developed the following comics strip to illustrate how the future of work will affect workers' lives and how they can address gaps in the fourth industrial revolution.
Rolly Czar Joseph Castillo is a research officer at the Labor Education and Research Network, a partner of FES Philippines.
Jason del Rosario and Jeninna Enriquez are freelance illustrators based in the Philippines.