On the 7th of October 2017, managing director of InSystems Automation Henry Stubert, scientist Prof. Dr. Schlingloff and politician Florian Swyter discussed the future of work under the moderation of Ricarda Wagner of the German Association of Digital Economy e.V. (BVDW).
The future of work: Digitalization changes communication
Smartphones, computers and robots have become a familiar sight in many parts of our lives. At work, the computer and its internet connection can barely be done without. A study of the Society for Consumer Research (GfK) shows that the average office worker creates 600 emails, 20 documents and 15 table-calculations per month. In order to get this information, the GfK asked a total of 1.107 German employees who spend at least 50 percent of their working hours on a computer. It was also found that the number of daily emails has risen by 60 percent over the course of the last few years. This means that the average time spent on each email is three minutes.
The digitalization process changes not only our way of communication in the office and everyday life, but also leads to a larger change of the job market and general society. Many predict the loss of a lot of jobs due to automation and digitalization. But what does digitalization really mean? The term digitalization broadly refers to changes in processes, objects and events that go hand in hand with the use of digital devices. In the original, more narrow sense of the word, it is used for the creation of digital representations of physical objects, events and analogue media.
Digitalization isn’t scary
Henry Stubert, managing director of InSystems Automation, has made his point during the discussion that the topic of automation is becoming more and more important worldwide. He says: “There is a lot of potential for companies to automate working processes in the future.” At the same time, he also eases concerns about large amounts of job losses: “We will have to automate in order to make Germany’s industry more productive. The risk of many losing their jobs is much higher if we leave things as they are and lose production branches as they are outsourced to other countries. We should stop looking at digitalization as something scary.” His experience has shown that workers in companies that choose to automate and use new technologies do not lose their jobs at all. Usually, these employees find new tasks in other areas of the firm. The future of work is changing at a rapid pace.
No digital change without education
There was one topic that all participants of the discussion agreed on: Digitalization means that new concepts in education policies become necessary. Prof. Dr. Schlingloff of the Humboldt-University argues for an early introduction of children to the topic, for example via certain toys in kindergarten or initiatives later in pimary school. He says: “We need to make sure that children learn to have a natural understanding of communication and information technology.” His conclusion? “Without education, there can be no digital changes.” Therefore, he calls for politics to spend more money on education so that children are not left behind.
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