¿Dónde irán todos esos trabajadores?

NUEVA YORK – A los ejecutivos e innovadores tecnológicos se los ve muy optimistas estos días: las nuevas tecnologías de fabricación generan un entusiasmo febril por lo que algunos ven como una Tercera Revolución Industrial. En los años venideros, las mejoras tecnológicas en robótica y automatización aumentarán la productividad y la eficiencia, con importantes beneficios económicos para las empresas. Pero a menos que se implementen políticas adecuadas para estimular la creación de empleo, no está claro que la demanda de mano de obra siga creciendo a la par del progreso de la tecnología.

Tres tendencias definen los últimos avances tecnológicos: uso intensivo de capital (favorable a los que ya cuentan con recursos financieros); uso intensivo de habilidades (favorable a quienes ya cuentan con un alto nivel de competencia técnica); y ahorro de mano de obra (menos demanda de trabajadores no calificados y semicalificados). Esto supone el riesgo de que cuando se asiente la polvareda levantada por la Tercera Revolución Industrial, nos encontremos con que los trabajadores fabriles se quedaron sin empleo.

La fuerza más importante detrás de la próxima revolución fabril puede ser el veloz desarrollo del software inteligente de las últimas décadas. Las innovaciones en software y las tecnologías de impresión 3D traerán oportunidades a los trabajadores con formación suficiente para aprovecharlas, pero es posible que los demás se queden mirando la revolución desde afuera. De hecho, la fábrica del futuro puede ser mil robots y un operario para manejarlos. Hasta para barrer el piso del taller resulta mejor y más barato un robot Roomba que cualquier trabajador.

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