Workplace Automation

Friend or Foe? How Workplace Automation Should Be Balanced

Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are popular forms of modern technology implementations within an array of businesses and industries today, with the goal of achieving a more productive workforce. However, not everyone is welcoming when it comes to embracing change, with criticism falling on AI technology ranging from security threats to taking over our workplaces. Even though a lot of criticism towards Automation and AI maybe exaggerated, how do we strike an even balance?

The first hurdle which must be crossed is acceptance of these modern technologies, believing that Automation and AI work alongside humans, complementing the way humans work instead of colonizing. The IPRP (IPPR Commission on Economic Justice) has released a report which suggests the balance of automation can be achieved, “Automation is likely to lead to the steady redeployment of labour over a period of decades, rather than a sudden and rapid elimination of employment.”

The report also suggests five key ways in which automation can be managed in the workplace, suggesting that “new models of common ownership needed to ensure the fruits of automation are fairly shared, believing that ideas can ensure a new machine age [helping] us all lead fuller, human lives.”


The following five points are highlighted by the IPRP: 

  1. Work will be transformed by automation, not eliminated.
  2. In the absence of policy intervention, the most likely outcome of automation is an increase in inequalities of wealth, income and power.
  3. A managed acceleration of automation is needed to reap the full productivity benefits and enable higher wages.
  4. An Authority for the Ethical Use of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence should be established to regulate the use of automating technologies.
  5. New models of capital ownership are needed to ensure automation broadens prosperity rather than concentrating wealth.