Automation may curtail employment opportunities, says Rangarajan

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Former Reserve Bank Governor, cautioned that which is part of “Digital Age” may curtail employment opportunities to people even though it is expected to create jobs at “higher” levels.

“Though the situation in India with regard to replacement of jobs by machines is not alarming, it should be noted for future considerations,” Rangarajan said at the Seventh Foundation Day Lecture at the ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education (IFHE).

Lakshmi Narayana, vice chairman of Cognizant delivered the keynote address titled ‘Digital Way Forward’.

“Until recently, until the dawn of the digital age, the replacement of human beings by machines was only at a level where what was routine and repetitive. But the emergence of artificial intelligence, is now increasingly replacing the human beings at higher levels of accuracies.

“So while the job market is open up in the highly sophisticated levels of intellectual power, perhaps  the job market is closing down at levels where the work is routine and rather work where artificial intelligence can take some place of the human beings,” Rangarajan who is also chancellor of IFHE said.

He said in the early stages of the industrial revolution, the machines were assisting the human beings. Whereas, now, increasingly the machines are replacing human beings.

“We, in India, may not still be there. We have still some way to go. But sooner or later a stage can be reached not only in India,  elsewhere in the world how to cope up with the increasing number of machines which replaces the work of humans will have to be handled,” he opined.

Expressing concern about the quality of higher education in India, the former Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister said as per reports on Engineering colleges, nearly 70 per cent of the people come out of the institutions are not equipped with necessary skills.

Earlier Lakshmi Narayanan in his key note address said four key sectors likes of Defence-Aviation-Spaces Research, Renewable Energy, Healthcare-Pharma-Biotechnology, Information and Communication Technologies are currently driving the global GDP growth due to large investments made in these fields.

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