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Jobs, Robots and Us: Getting a Grip on the Future of Work in New Zealand

A review of Jobs, Robots and Us by Kinley Salmon.

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by Kinley Salmon (Bridget Williams Books)

I work in education. My mind often starts racing as I see advancements in technology. I am fascinated with the question, “How well are we preparing students for their future?” I think it is the question to ask, and to ask often.

And my surface-level understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) means that I get swept up in the drastic change and transformation that we have coming our way. Self-driving cars, a constant stream of experts at the fingertips of students and educators … In some really wild moments, I wonder about the need for schools as a physical structure at all. But is that realistic?

Jobs, Robots and Us is the reality check we need. Change is coming, but it might not be at the rate and size that Silicon Valley would have us believe. Drawing on a range of research, trends and examples, author Kinley Salmon explores a realistic view of what this could mean for us in New Zealand.

A central theme is around affirming our ability to shape what technology is going to look like and how it gets used. We do not have to be passive receivers of an amorphous technological direction, but instead we can control it to meet our needs. This book shows that through political leadership, appropriate incentives and alignment of economic models, we can use technological transformation to meet our goals and aspirations – which is no mean feat.

Ensuring that everyone is going to benefit from the advantages of  technology is vital. The role of educators, business and government will be central to our ability to succeed.

Reviewed by Liam Rutherford

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