Uganda warned on Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence

East African Business Week - - NEWS - BY PAUL TENTENA

KAM­PALA, UGANDA – Richard Byaru­gaba, the Manag­ing Direc­tor of Uganda Na­tional So­cial Se­cu­rity Fund has said em­ploy­ers and ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions should be vig­i­lant about emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies that are trans­form­ing the world and may wipe out ex­ist­ing jobs.

Byaru­gaba said in Kam­pala that some of the jobs that are ex­ist­ing in the world to­day were not even in ex­is­tence only ten years ago. “Some of these oc­cu­pa­tions are in high de­mand for the work we do. We need to have our so­cial me­dia up and run­ning all the time. By one pop­u­lar es­ti­mate cited by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in 2016 with a fo­cus on As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (ASEAN), it is pro­jected that 65% of chil­dren en­ter­ing pri­mary school to­day will ul­ti­mately end up work­ing in com­pletely new job types that don’t yet ex­ist,” said Byaru­gaba. He gave an ex­am­ple of app de­vel­op­ers, so­cial me­dia man­agers, sus­tain­abil­ity man­agers, drone op­er­a­tors and Youtube con­tent cre­ators etc which he said are jobs that have been cre­ated as a re­sult of ad­vance­ment in tech­nol­ogy. Byaru­gaba said the emer­gency of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence through the use of Ro­bots will likely wipe out close to 5.1mil­lion jobs by 2020 ac­cord­ing to the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum not­ing that there is need for ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions and em­ploy­ers to en­vis­age this ad­vance­ment in tech­nol­ogy and work out on the ed­u­ca­tion given to the young gen­er­a­tion. “With emer­gency of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence, are our ed­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions giv­ing the fu­ture needed skills to our Chil­dren. Prob­a­bly it’s time to put more em­pha­sis in vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion rather than the the­o­ret­i­cal one,” said Byaru­gaba. Byaru­gaba added that Em­ploy­ers need to be pre­pared to ef­fec­tively en­gage in this global di­a­logue on the fu­ture of work by un­der­stand­ing the driv­ers of change im­pact­ing busi­ness since they will ul­ti­mately af­fect job sus­te­nance and job cre­ation. “We need to un­der­stand the sec­tors which are hav­ing ex­pand­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, and we also need to ap­pre­ci­ate the in­creas­ing trend of in­come in­equal­ity and the ris­ing num­ber of the work­ing poor. “We have seen se­ri­ous dis­rup­tions in the econ­omy here in Uganda with some com­pa­nies clos­ing which is a cause for con­cern since busi­nesses that are meant to cre­ate jobs now and for the fu­ture are dis­ap­pear­ing be­fore the fu­ture has even ar­rived. This calls for strate­gic pol­icy in­ter­ven­tions. “We need to fo­cus our at­ten­tion on eco­nomic and so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties that cre­ate jobs by de­lib­er­ately main­stream­ing em­ploy­ment tar­gets in all our sec­tor plans,” he said. The Fed­er­a­tion of Uganda Em­ploy­ers (FUE) in col­labo- ra­tion with the In­ter­na­tional Labour Or­ga­ni­za­tion held an em­ploy­ers’ di­a­logue aimed at de­vel­op­ing an em­ploy­ers’ po­si­tion on the fu­ture of work in Uganda. This di­a­logue was based on the pre­text that Uganda and the world over is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing pro­found changes that are af­fect­ing the work en­vi­ron­ment stem­ming from tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion, pop­u­la­tion growth, glob­al­iza­tion, cli­mate change, grow­ing eco­nomic di­vide, chang­ing char­ac­ter of pro­duc­tion and em­ploy­ment among oth­ers. Rose­mary Ssenab­ulya, Ex- ec­u­tive Direc­tor Fed­er­a­tion of Uganda Em­ploy­ers said, “FUE is an em­ploy­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion es­tab­lished to rep­re­sent em­ploy­ers’ in­ter­ests on so­cial, eco­nomic and labour is­sues. “The fu­ture of work is there­fore an im­por­tant as­pect in which the em­ploy­ers’ per­spec­tive ought to be shared.’ She added that they re­al­ize that the onus is on all of them to de­velop suit­able poli­cies for the chang­ing work en­vi­ron­ment while es­pe­cially fo­cus­ing on en­sur­ing de­cent work­ing con­di­tions and ac­cept­able so­cial wel­fare. “Em­ploy­ers all agree that the great­est re­source any com­pany can have is the hu­man re­source; it is there­fore im­per­a­tive that we par­tic­i­pate in all the pro­cesses that im­prove the work­ing con­di­tions of all the em­ploy­ees both now and the fu­ture.” Ok­wir Ni­cholas, the Chair­man Board of Di­rec­tors FUE said, ‘Work in fu­ture will be more net­worked, more de­volved, more mo­bile, more team-based, more pro­ject­based, more col­lab­o­ra­tive, more real-time, and more fluid. The chal­lenge will to be make sure it is not more com­pli­cated, con­fus­ing, or over­whelm­ing. “This will re­quire bet­ter and dif­fer­ent ways to com­mu­ni­cate, col­lab­o­rate, and net­work. The fu­ture of work will re­quire lead­ers to act in­creas­ingly as net­work ar­chi­tects and role mod­els for the new ways of work­ing.’ Ag­gie Konde, the Manag­ing Direc­tor of Na­tion Tele­vi­sion, One of Uganda’s lead­ing Tele­vi­sion Sta­tions said with emer­gency of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence and use of ro­bots, the me­dia in­dus­try may not need tele­vi­sion cam­er­ap­er­sons in the near fu­ture. “A ro­bot will ably be able to record and move around cam­eras. Now where is the fu­ture job of all my cam­era per­sons,” she asked.

Richard Byaru­gaba, the Manag­ing Direc­tor of Uganda Na­tional So­cial Se­cu­rity Fund

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