Quel avenir pour les travailleurs ?

NEW YORK –Les innovateurs en matière de technologie paraissent saisis de vertige face à ce que l'avenir nous réserve. De nouvelles techniques de fabrication suscitent la fébrilité face à ce que certains considèrent comme la troisième Révolution industrielle. Dans les années à venir, les avancées technologiques en matière de robotique et d'automatisation doperont la productivité et l'efficacité - avec des gains économiques importants pour les entreprises. Pourtant sans politique appropriée de création d'emplois, le progrès technologique pourrait s'accompagner d'une montée du chômage. 

Les récents progrès technologiques présentent trois inconvénients : ils nécessitent généralement des capitaux importants (ce qui favorise ceux qui disposent déjà de ressources financières), des qualifications élevées (ce qui favorise ceux qui ont un niveau de formation technique élevé) et réduisent le besoin en main d'oeuvre (ce qui limite le nombre d'emplois peu ou non qualifiés dans l'économie). Le risque est de voir la robotique et l'automatisation remplacer les ouvriers avant même que ne retombe la poussière de la Troisième révolution industrielle.

Le développement rapide des logiciels intelligents au cours des dernières décennies est sans doute l'élément le plus important qui modèle la révolution industrielle qui s'annonce. L'innovation dans le domaine des logiciels et des technologies d'impression en 3D va bénéficier à ceux des travailleurs qui sont suffisamment formés pour y participer ; pour les autres tout ce passera comme si la révolution avait lieu ailleurs. L'usine du futur, ce sera peut-être 1000 robots et un seul employé pour les diriger. Aujourd'hui un aspirateur robot nettoie mieux qu'un employé, et pour moins cher.

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