Robots eating up jobs a bigger worry than outsourcing, says Rajan

  • HT Correspondent
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2016 07:00 IST

MUMBAI: RBI governor Raghu ram Rajan on Thursday broached concerns of how technology could impact work in the future, while talking about outsourcing.

Speaking in a panel discussion at a book launch in Mumbai, Rajan said: “The guy sitting in Bangalore might take your job, that was a worry few years ago in the US. The emerging threat is not the guy in Bangalore but the robot next door who will take your job. This creates enormous anxiety in the middle-class and you can see it expressed in political dialogue taking place in the US as well as run-up to Brexit... increasingly, the debate is moving to emerging markets, where there is a worry, perhaps industrial countries will get right this time and perhaps won’t need us to produce stuff. What happens if all these robots, flexible manufacturing, 3d printers... They no longer need mass production that was ladder to growth in emerging markets.... What happens to countries like Vietnam, India and Africa if the ladder for steady growth is removed?”

“We already see worrisome signs of emergence of populists who have easy answers. And the distance from populism to something more worrisome is not far. The worry is that if a large part of middle-class become disempowered and are looking for easy solutions country after country, could it create conditions for more political turmoil? This is a question rather than a statement, something we have to think about when we are looking forward 35 years,” he added.

Bloomberg recently ran an article that said that one out of every five jobs will be automated by 2020.

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