How the digital revolution changes our work life – Pl 03 2017
Last year’s EuroDIG overarching theme was: “Embracing the digital revolution”. The discussion was focused on the development of digital markets in Europe and Industry 4.0. Recent developments have shown that some people fear the digital revolution goes along with a loss of their work places and they have less trust in the future. Therefore we are looking at the “DIGital futures” form a different angle this year and would like to discuss “promises and pitfalls”.
basic income, work life, digitalisation; collaboration
While the digital revolution can undoubtedly improve and rationalize our work life in a number of ways, for example by robots taking over routine/repetitive/arduous tasks and by a better reconciliation of work life and family life to mention just two, the discussion will also look into the challenges it may pose to traditional workers’ rights as guaranteed by the European Social Charter (ESC) and as interpreted by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR).
The exact nature and scope of these challenges will be shaped by how the digital revolution interacts with other key developments of our time such as demographic change (ageing), globalization and climate change.
During this plenary we will explore the roles of the different stakeholder groups. How should industry cooperate with government when it comes to legislation? How should policy making processes look like in the future? What influence has the technical community and which role can play the civil society? Shall we consider universal basic income and reverse our social systems completely? Finland is the first country in Europe experimenting in this direction. What are their conclusions so far? What kind of role models we know already for globally operating business and what are the opportunities, what are the challenges?
The foregoing keynote about the initiative from the European Commission “Next Generation Internet” will open up the topic.
Moderated discussion including the audience
- Effects of digital revolution on employment: driver of job growth, transitional limitation on job growth, or cause of lasting and progressive joblessness (“technological unemployment”)?
The question of whether the digital revolution will lead to net job creation or net job destruction is disputed; probably the predominant view is that at least in the short run the digital revolution could destroy (automation, robotics, etc.) more jobs than it creates, but with a possibility for job growth in the longer run.
Under Article 1§1 ESC, in order to guarantee the right to work, States must pursue a policy of full employment. According to ECSR this means that States must adopt and follow an economic policy which is conducive to creating and preserving jobs and must take adequate measures to assist those who become unemployed in finding and/or qualifying for a job.
- How the digital revolution impacts just working conditions: working time, health and safety at work, fair remuneration.
The challenge here is the “decent work deficits” (in ILO parlance) which characterise non-standard employment, in particular employment in the “gig” or “platform” economy (Uber, Airbnb, TaskRabbit, etc.), which is not based on the traditional employer-dependent employee distinction. There is much research to indicate that working time in these forms of employment is either unregulated or not sufficiently regulated, that remuneration is often (extremely) low and that health and safety conditions are not adequate or not adequately monitored by labour inspection authorities.
The ESC perspective on working conditions is to some extent the “one (wo)man, one job, one wage” perspective whereas the new non-standard forms of employment are often characterized by the worker performing multiple jobs/tasks and thus with multiple sources of income:
- Article 2§1 ESC guarantees workers the right to reasonable limits on daily and weekly working hours, including overtime. This right must be guaranteed through legislation, regulations, collective agreements or any other binding means. In order to ensure that the limits are respected in practice, an appropriate authority must supervise whether the limits are being respected.
- Article 3 guarantees the right to health and safety at work (policy, regulations, supervision/enforcement/labour inspection and consultation). The right of every worker to a safe and healthy working environment is a “widely recognised principle, stemming directly from the right to personal integrity, one of the fundamental principles of human rights”. The purpose of Article 3 is thus directly related to that of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which recognises the right to life.
- Article 4§1 ESC guarantees the right to a fair remuneration such as to ensure a decent standard of living. It applies to all workers, including to civil servants and contractual staff in the state, regional and local public sectors, to branches or jobs not covered by collective agreement, to atypical jobs and to special regimes or statuses. “Remuneration” relates to the compensation – either monetary or in kind – paid by an employer to a worker for time worked or work done. It covers, where applicable, special bonuses and gratuities. Social transfers (e.g. social security allowances or benefits) are taken into account only when they have a direct link to the wage. To be considered fair within the meaning of Article 4§1, the minimum or lowest net remuneration or wage paid in the labour market must not fall below 60% of the net average wage.
- The digital revolution and collective labour rights: unionization and collective bargaining
The digital revolution clearly poses challenges to trade unions that have already been weakened in recent decades. The often fragmented and dispersed nature of workplaces in the gig or platform economy potentially makes it difficult for trade unions to conduct their (traditional) activities and recruit members. The new non-standard forms of employment may entail an individualization of the labour market with many workers becoming more or less independent “agents” whereas the traditional membership base of trade unions has been dependent workers. Over and above the right to organize per se, this development will affect collective rights more generally, including collective bargaining and the right to strike.
- Article 5 ESC guarantees workers (and employers) freedom to organize, i.e. to form and join trade unions and to conduct trade union activities with full independence and autonomy and without undue interference by the state or by other private parties. Article 6 ESC, guarantees the right of workers (and employers to) bargain collectively including the right to take collective action (right to strike).
- Skills strategies in the digital revolution: how to ensure adequate and relevant initial and continuing vocational training for the labour market.
New non-standard forms of employment often provides less opportunities for continuing vocational training (and possibly less opportunities for career development), which is an issue notably under Article 10§3 ESC. Vocational training provision should ensure not only the building of adequate new skills, but also the adaptation of existing skills to allow workers to match the evolving requirements following from the digital revolution.
The right to vocational training pursuant to Article 10 ESC must be guaranteed to everyone. In times of economic recession, vocational training takes on added importance and priority should be given to young persons, who are particularly hit by unemployment. Article 10§3 ESC guarantees the right to training and re-training of adult workers (employed and unemployed).
- The digital revolution and social security protection
While the digital revolution may provide substantial advantages in relation to the management and delivery of social security benefits, the non-standard forms of employment that it engenders may also pose challenges to social security systems that are still predominantly geared towards full-time workers in standard employment relationships. Gig or platform economy workers may in some cases face difficulties in accessing key benefits such as unemployment insurance, sickness pay and pensions (they may not “earn” entitlement).
- Article 12§1 ESC guarantees the right to social security to workers and their dependents including the self-employed. States Parties must ensure this right through the existence of a social security system established by law and functioning in practice. Social security, which includes universal schemes as well as pro¬fessional ones, includes contributory, non-contributory and combined allowances related to certain risks. These are benefits granted in the event of risks which arise, but they are not intended to compensate for a potential state of need which could result from the risk itself.
- Workers’ right to privacy (at work and off work)
The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has referred to this issue under Article 1§2 ESC as follows:
The emergence of new technologies which have revolutionised communications have permitted employers to organise continuous supervision of employees and in practice enabled employees to work for their employers at any time and in any place, with the result that the frontier between professional and private life has been weakened. The right to undertake work freely includes the right to be protected against interferences with the right to privacy. Under Article 1§2 individuals must be protected from interference in their private or personal lives associated with or arising from their employment situation, in particular through modern electronic communication and data collection techniques (ECSR, Conclusions 2006 and 2012, Statement of interpretation on Article 1§2 ESC).
The judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Bărbulescu v. Romania (application no. 61496/08) is obviously also of relevance here.
Other sources: Robot revolution: The economics of automation
- EuroDIG Secretariat and EuroDIG Partners
- Swedish Minister for Housing and Digital Development Peter Eriksson
- Marco Pancini, Google
- Karoli Hindriks, Jobbatical Small and Medium Enterprise from Estonia
- Ville-Veikko Pulkka, Doctoral researcher at Helsinki University
- Annette Mühlberg, verdi
- Rinalia Abdul Rahim, ICANN Board
Remote Moderator Please contact the EuroDIG secretariat if you need help to find a remote moderator.
Organising Team (Org Team)
- EuroDIG Secretariat and EuroDIG Partners
- Rinalia Abdul Rahim, ICANN Board
- Salam Yamout
What are the consequences of the digital revolution: The panelists agreed that the jobs landscape and business models are changing. They are worried about the social implication of the Digital revolution on workers: stressful productivity work conditions, lack of separation between personal and work time, and lack of social security protection for people taking on virtual jobs with online platforms like health and retirement benefits
What kind of jobs will be in demand in the future: The panelists agreed that jobs of the digital economy did not exist ten years ago. Education systems have not caught up. Need for training and re-training, digital awareness, entrepreneurship training, research, and lifelong learning.
Regarding the social systems needed for the future: Online platforms need to be employers and provide social security benefits.
It is a bad idea to fund these new social security systems from new taxes especially that businesses will not pay taxes in all juridictions where they operate globally. Some solutions being considered are creating more jobs, basic income, accountability and transparency.
Provided by: Caption First, Inc., P.O. Box 3066, Monument, CO 80132, Phone: 1-877-825-5234, +001-719-481-9835 www.captionfirst.com
This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.
>> GERT AUVAART: We are moving to the first panel of the morning, How the Digital Revolution Changes the Work Life, will be moderated by Rinalia Abdul Rahim, from ICANN.
You have the floor.
And I would kindly ask the panelists, Minister Eriksson and the rest of you, to please also take a seat. So Rinalia will continue with the introductions.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you. Good morning everyone. My name is Rinalia Abdul Rahim. I'm a member of the ICANN board of directors, and a new resident of Europe. Not yet of e-Estonia but definitely of Germany. And I'm deleted to be in Tallinn and at EuroDIG both for the very first time.
This is the third plenary of EuroDIG 2017. And the topic is how the digital revolution changes our work life. Now, this topic has the ability to evoke strong opinions and emotions in people. But we only have an hour. So we will do our best. And everyone will have to be extremely concise.
Let me start by introducing our esteemed panelists. We have Peter Erikssoni the Minister for Housing and Digital Development from Sweden.
We have Annette Muhlberg, head of digitalization from Verdi, the United Services Union of Germany with 2 million members.
We have Karoli Hindriks, an Estonian entrepreneur extraordinaire and founder of Jobbatical.
Marco Pancini, Google's EU Director for public policy from Italy, I gather? Yes.
And Ville-Veikko Pulkka, doctoral researcher from the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Finland.
So let me start by setting the context of the discussion involving the panel and the audience. We heard the two keynote addresses from this morning on next-generation Internet and the future of the Internet.
They give us a sense of the drivers of the future. Now, we know that the digital revolution brings both opportunities and challenges for society and economy. And that the revolution is driven by technological change. And it is this change that is also changing the nature of work and our work life. But what does it mean for the future? What does the rapidly evolving employment landscape tell us? Does it mean that we will have a better quality of life? Does it mean that we will have more leisure moving forward? The panelists will address these questions.
We also know that technological change displaces jobs, but also creates jobs. The concern is whether or not the net effect moving forward is going to be positive, particularly in light of the combined developments of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics. And what is different now is that automation can take on the task of not just routine and repetitive tasks, but also cognitive tasks.
So what does the digital revolution then mean for the future of work and work life? For the economic and social rights of workers? For the attainability and security of employment? For the adequacy of social protection systems across Europe? And generally for the quality of life for everyone?
So to help us explain this topic I asked our panelists each to give a brief view of how they see the promises and pitifalls of the digital revolution and how they affect the future of work.
To help us manage time, we have the youth delegates from the Youth IGF movement, Elody (sp) and Canta (sp), and they will give you an indication of when you have one minute left and when you need to stop.
So we will start with Minister Peter Eriksson.
>> PETER ERIKSSON: Is this on? Yes.
Thank you very much. I would like to start with saying that everybody knows that when you come to a new technique and digitization, and so on, it means that a lot of businesses are shut down. Factories are shut down. People lose their jobs. But there are a lot of other jobs coming in instead. And, actually, this is of course not a new thing. It has happened all the time since industrialization started. But there is one big change, I think, and that is the speed of the change.
So I think if we want to analyze what is happening and how it's affecting our societies, we have to meet the question around speed of change. How does it affect our societies?
I mean that we, for example, have to look much further on how we organise Social Security and also education. If we want to -- our societies and the people to face the possibilities of the new technique and the new jobs coming up, then we have to change our way of thinking around education and learning. And that's maybe the most important thing of all, because we have to stop the thinking that you educate when you're young and then you work with something for the rest of your life and then you're a pensionist. I think we have to find models of the society to be included in financing, together with the companies, a system where it's normal to educate and learn every year or every second year, and get the payment around this.
And then also we have to change the way that we look at Social Security. But I think that basic income that many people talk about right now is not the way forward. I think that is the problem when you think of basic income as the solution. It could very be so that basic income, if we introduce that, is a way of excluding more and more a growing part of the people instead of including them and giving them new life chances and new possibilities to learn new things and be a part of the changing world that we see is meeting us every day.
So I, just to start with a warning of that solution, because that is probably not the solution but a dead end.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you very much.
Annette, what do you think?
>> ANNETTE MUHLBERG: Well, does it work? Okay.
Well, hi, everybody and good morning.
The promises and the hopes to work easier, nicer, happier, more healthier, strengthen the autonomy and self-determination of workers, allow the compatibility of job and family, and have a good family income, now the reality check. We just received the results of a study on the working world of digitization and what it means in practice for employees. And, yes, there are some good parts. Those who work at places with hard physical work, these workers can get support by robots to reduce hard and dangerous work. Also, surgeons can be supported by artificial intelligence. Workers are happy about this support as long as they do not get replaced by robots and lose their jobs. And the study showed there is a big fear of losing the job. And we all know that almost 50 percent of the existing jobs in the USA could disappear.
There are similar studies for Germany and other countries. And it became clear, the workload and time pressure has been rising and burnouts increased. There is the dramatic increase of surveillance and control at workplaces.
I just give you an example of Germany. Amazon gave a warning to an employee who works in logistics and has to walk around with a scanner all day. He became the warning because of two times of inactivity within five minutes. We won that case, but still it shows how surveillance is used against the workers.
Other problems are lots of democratic procedures and the rise of working conditions where employees and freelancers become an object of arbitrariness. This is especially the case in the online platform world, where companies like Uber and Amazon claims just to be a provider of a technical platform and not to be an employer. But those platform providers actually do have the power to distribute work and to deny access to jobs in a very big way. There are no negotiated contracts. Instead, there are just one-sided general terms and conditions. No health insurance. No Social Security, just what you said. This precarious work is also a threat to the still existing normal contract workers.
We have great difficulties to implement national and European working laws to transAtlantic online platform providers.
And there is the fear of a disastrous global price cutting competition between online workers.
Okay, this is happening. If you do not shape the new business models and work procedures with the participation of those who do the work, and those who represent their interests.
My trade union developed a vision and practical guidelines for good digital labour. And I just have a few time left. So here, just, seven points.
First, we need to have the basic right of freedom and association in the digital world.
Second, we need to ease the transition costs by digitalization and mitigate the social consequence of rationalization.
Third, we have to support quality education and new skills.
We want healthy and family friendly work. The around the clock employee availability is a huge problem. Employees have to have more rights to choose when and where they perform their work, and they need the right to be unavailable, to right to log off.
Fifth, strengthen information of health determination and employee data protection both nationally and Internationally. A free data flows to countries that don't follow European laws is a problem.
Sixth, strengthen co-determination and respect the work flow and the technologies used. We need the transparency of algorithms with regard to the work process.
And, finally, strengthen Social Security. This is especially important for online platform workers. We need to establish minimum number standards for their pay, health and safety and Social Security. So please, let's work together on a transnational level on good work by design.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you. So those are principles moving forward to protect social and economic rights of people.
Karoli, what do you think?
>> KAROLI HINDRIKS: I look from a little bit different angle. And to look at where the world is today, I'd take a glimpse to the past and the past realities that I as a human being, I was born behind a wall, a wall that we called the iron curtain. Which means that the first part of my life I actually spent seeing what it means to live in an isolated society. Isolation from travel. Isolation from ideas. Isolation from knowledge, in a large extent.
And that is one of the things that -- what makes me very excited about what -- where the world is today, which is the time where, as William Spring from the organisation for International immigration, said that today we're living in an era where every seventh person on the planet is a migrant. And we are living in the era of highest mobility in the whole of human history. So people are on the move.
And with Jobbatical, what we like to say is that we are helping to build a borderless world through jobs. And why this is all happening, and again like we are talking about digitalization, why this is all happening? Let's look again at the individual. What has happened in the last ten or fifteen years is that our comfort zone as an individual, which used to be very local. Friendships were local, there was something that happened in the neighborhood and it was connected very much to location and geography, is now global through the network. So basically people are not connected through where they are located, but because they are interested in the same things. They like the same things.
So what actually has happened is that comfort zones are global, which means that people can live anywhere. As a human being, I'm comfortable living anywhere. What happens now is that suddenly I have the freedom to choose the countries where the user experience of the country is the best.
So I think the most exciting thing to look where the world is going to head in five or ten years is how countries will actually adopt it. So how countries will come from something that was very much geography based, to actually service providers. Who are the countries where people want to move in five or ten years? Who are the countries with the best user experience in five or ten years?
So I think, again, we are talking about talent and we're talking about talent mobility, and very much it's preferred to be something of a business problem. But I think what we are seeing now is that it's becoming a problem for the countries, because there is an option to close down. There is an option to build another wall. Or there is an option to actually adapt to the mobile workforce.
So I'm happy to discuss this as well as the other topics that we have been covering here.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Perfect. Thank you.
Marco, your turn.
>> MARCO PANCINI: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me today. It's a very inspiring discussion.
I think we need to start from acknowledging that this is an issue that we need to discuss, that we need to tackle. Indeed, both the position of denying completely the impact of new technologies on the jobs of the future are wrong.
But also, from the contrary, like the demonization of these economics is also something that we have to avoid, which also is reflected in the numbers that we are facing that goes from 40 percent of impact on the jobs to the 10 percent OACD? So I think we should start from acknowledging the issue, but also moving away from focusing too much on just trying to measure the impact. While, instead, the real debate should be on what we can do as multistakeholders, as a multistakeholder society in tackling these important issues. And I think what we have this morning is already a good example of different solutions that can be put in place.
If you take these from our perspective, as a company, where we really believe from our experience that things like skilling, things like digital skills are very important. And we can play a role in these.
We launched a few years ago an initiative called rotangia (sp) with the goal of making sure that all of the Small and Medium Enterprises can really enjoy the great advantage of being online, addressing a global audience. We focus on working together with businesses and trying to understand what are the things that they need in order to be successful online. And we are very happy to help them and to provide this.
That also means investing in entrepreneurship, in supporting, as we said before, people mobility, looking at opportunities to move towards their own business. And a few examples of how we are helping businesses to accomplish this initiative is through our Google entrepreneurship initiatives.
I would say that we are part of the question, of course, as a big technology company, but we can also be part of the solution by working together with all the other stakeholders and making sure that they can really take the best out of the technological evolution.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
>> VILLE-VEIKKO PULKKA: Hello, everyone. It's always nice to be in Tallinn.
As Rinalia already mentioned, the discussion on the digital economies, the implications for labour, is polarized. I'd like to discuss this further, but since I have just three minutes, I'll highlight three other points.
Firstly, I argue that relying on a conservative working life scenario enables the most flexible solutions. So given the technological possibilities, it seems relatively clear that in the very least in the short and medium term, technological unemployment and precarious jobs will increase. This has been the case also during the earlier industrial revolutions. And what is important is that we should not dismiss the economic cost of the many displaced workers. Also, even a smaller disruption can create major challenges at both the macro and micro level of the economy.
I also argue that it would be risky and also unnecessary to exclude the possibility of more serious disruptions, since there are different political social (inaudible) and there are other macro economic factors which may affect the development. So it's impossible to forecast the long-term effect.
So if we follow my conservative scenario, it is clear that we need flexible policies to address different work life scenarios. Flexibility in work forms means, firstly, reforms which enable combining employment, unemployment, (?) and also lifelong learning.
Secondly, it means reforms which address both current but also expected challenges, such as reducing bureaucracy traps in Social Security. So we need less delays, less reporting of vacations, and less falling through the Social Security net, if you want to work on a part-time basis and go into self employment at the same time, for instance. So if we implement these sort of reforms, it will prepare us for different scenarios.
My third point is we need digital flex security. What does that mean? It means we should consolidate Social Security with other income in a more sustainable manner than currently. For instance, access to realtime information and people's incomes, so different digital registries could reduce delays. And reporting obligations, unemployment benefits could be also used more flexibly for starting up a business. Fixed income and means testing are reasons for these bureaucracy traps. I also argue that the income and means testing applications and sanctions and Social Security could be gradually reduced, and then it could be studied what actually works and what is just harmful for the digital labour.
So in the general level I argue that we need to give more opportunities for the unemployed to define meaningful participation work by themselves.
I was working with the Finnish basic experiment, but I have to argue that the basic (?) the only option to the current labour market flexibility, it's not a sustainable manner.
And I will stop now. Thanks.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you very much.
So what I'd like to do now is post some questions to the panel, have a bit of discussion, and then we will go to the audience.
So Karoli I'll go to you first. Young people in particular are interested in jobs, especially with interesting perks. And others who are not so young want to know what kind of skills to upgrade to, if it's even possible.
So what kinds of jobs will be in demand in the future?
>> KAROLI HINDRIKS: Okay. So I think again, you talk about young people. It's just -- it just reminded me of an interesting study which surprised me quite a lot which was from last year. It was done on college graduates in the United States. And it asked basically what is the most important thing when you choose your first job? We are talking about people who are coming out from the University, have zero experience, have tuitions to pay, loans to pay, and the number one thing which 92 percent of all the respondents answered was "making a difference." Making an impact. And that was the number one thing. And when you talk about where people are going to work and how they are going to work, I think this is very much illustrating this.
Regarding your question about what are the jobs that are going to be in demand, I mean, we have jobs today, for example, on Jabbatical we have mainly tech and marketing related jobs. That's where our focus is. And we are looking at andre (?) developers, app developers, which are like the top ten most sought out skills in the world. And this is a job that didn't exist ten years ago.
So I think predicting exactly what is going to be the job that will be in demand in ten years, I don't think I can do it today. What I can do or say is, and what we are seeing more and more also through our own work, is that education is changing. Like there is a lot of the kind of looking at different boot camps, for example. Within 12 weeks you'll get a skill that you didn't have 12 weeks ago. After that, you're ready to actually be employed. I think the way that we're ready to adapt to the new jobs that maybe today don't exist and next year exist, I think this is one of the trends that we're seeing. The education is changing.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
I know Peter wanted to address the question, but I'd also like Marco to answer as well. Please.
>> PETER ERIKSSON: Well, if you look, for example, at Sweden right now, we have a lack of workers in many areas in society. We have 60,000 jobs in the technology sector that could be picked up if we had the people to take it.
We have 40,000 jobs in the building houses, which is my other area. If we had people to take these jobs.
But we are at the same time we have quite a lot of people that are unemployed and not -- is not matching these new jobs.
And the education system for young people, they are not educating to the areas where there is a lot of jobs. They are educating mostly to other areas. And that is the basic problem I see. We have to be much better in the education system to look at what is the need and to match also grown up people with the jobs that the society can bring. And if we don't do that, then we are facing a much bigger class cliff than we ever had. Because there are a growing number of people that are outside and excluded to the society if we don't fix that problem in the education.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Okay. Thank you.
>> MARCO PANCINI: Very quickly, that is the core of the problem. So just to go back to what we have done in the last two years, we trained more than 1 million Europeans. But the key of our trainings, our programme for small and medium enterprise was to try to adapt our digital skills programme to the different local situations.
In Italy, for example, we found out that there was a need of specific professional support for small and medium enterprises in the digital sector. But the small and medium enterprises that we were supporting were coming from the traditional sectors, or design, manufacturing, even smaller handicrafts. And of course they are small or medium enterprises of four or five people. They don't have the resources to hire someone to take care of the digital marketing. But thanks to the support of the programme of the Commission, thanks to our knowledge in terms of building this education, we were able to provide support to this programme called the Education in Digitali. And that is an example of how the offline work and the online work can come together and building skills also for also the traditional sector can help to invent or to create a future for this important part of our economy.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
Before Karoli answers the question also, I'm hearing from Peter and you and also a bit from Karoli and from you the need for focus on education, retraining, entrepreneurship. Is there something else that should be considered?
After this, we will talk about social protection and we will go to Annette.
>> MARCO PANCINI: I think very quickly we need -- I think it's the point about respecting the rights and Europe and being on the forefront of this is absolutely important. All of the new things can only come in a clear framework of the worker's eyes.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Okay, Karoli. Just briefly.
>> KAROLI HINDRIKS: Just briefly, you said 60,000 people are lacking. 60,000 people. We have those 60,000 people. That is one of the kind of examples of how far today the human mobility, such an opportunity for countries. The question is how to adapt, like how you make it -- how those 60,000 people will be welcomed easily in Sweden, for example.
So just a remark.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
>> PETER ERIKSSON: We have Europe's most liberal work employment laws. So there are good possibilities for companies to take engineers from India, and they do that. But, still, the situation is and the problem is that we have unemployment. And young people are educated, but they don't get jobs because they are not educated to the works that are there in the businesses.
And partly because they're not so interested in it and partly because there are problems with the new jobs. It's not secure. It's often temporary. I think we need a better social system to meet the challenges of the new jobs that are coming in.
And every new job is maybe not a good job, either. We have to face that, too. But many new jobs is more effective than the old ones. So we have to adapt both education and Social Security and also the laws in the work systems, so people can feel that even if their job is going away, that the society is helping them to get new life chances and possibilities to get the other job in two years or one year or half a year.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Let's talk about the social protection system that you are talking about. Because he had mentioned the need for flexibility for flexible policies and digital flex security. So how do we go about doing that? What needs to be adapted?
>> VILLE-VEIKKO PULKKA: Well, right now it seems that the direction is, for instance, the Finnish Government is implementing more applications, more conditionality, and making it slightly more difficult to compound different labour markets. So I think on the political level, the Governments haven't discovered yet what digital flex creating could mean.
As I mentioned, making lifelong learning easier is one key thing. The European Union has been discussing it since the 1980s. If you don't give people resources, mainly time and money, it's just an empty word that is going to be used in these kinds of conferences.
So we need to admit that maybe basic income, maybe some other solutions, maybe using income benefits more flexibly could be the challenge to give people more opportunities to adapt to more fluctuating labour markets.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Okay. So basic income plus the existing benefits --
>> VILLE-VEIKKO PUULKKA: Basic income and more or less conditionality.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Less conditionality.
Annette, I know you have an opinion on this.
>> ANNETTE MUHLBERG: Well, we have to talk about --
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Closer.
>> ANNETTE MUHLBERG: Well, there are different developments right now going on. So you still have jobs where there are full-time people. It's just one employer, and everything is easy in comparison. If you have several employers, it's getting more complicated. If you have no employer, sort of self-employed but on an online platform, as I said, we first have to clarify what laws are actually implemented. Does the national law count or not? And can it be implemented?
Secondly, I think that online platforms, contracting entities should be required to make a proportional contribution to the Social Security systems funding, just as traditional employers. So I think this is really something extremely important. We have to make also a proposal to have a portable Social Security system.
So I think this is the way we have to think and we have to make sure that in every act, wherever you work, that you really have at the end Social Security also when you need a pension.
And also, you need health insurance, social insurance, a pension at the end, and we have to make that possible.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
I want to latch onto this point and ask a rather controversial question, perhaps. How will the new social protection system be funded? Should robots and algorithms be techs? Should the tech sector be asked to contribute by not shifting profits to local taxation countries? As I understand it, there is an estimated 50 to 70 billion Euros a year involved in terms of tax avoidance.
So Peter and then Marco.
>> PETER ERIKSSON: That's a good question. How should be finance tomorrow's Social Security system?
I think to tax -- make new taxes on the new technique, that is not a good way to go forward. Then you say that we don't want the new technique, it's better that they use it in other countries, other parts of the world, and then we see that probably they -- these countries will be more competitive and get the new jobs instead of the coming to us. So I think that is a very problematic way to see these questions.
But I -- I'm not sure that we have any new big tax places to get taxes from. But I think the best thing is to work for more -- for a situation where people have jobs, also, in the future. So that you can -- if we have -- the bigger the group that are paying taxes are, the better the possibility is to have a good social system, security system, and be many people that divides these taxes.
The other thinking is to have a system where a bigger and bigger part is excluded and not paying taxes. And that gives the problem that it's just a matter of -- a question of how long will this function until they say that the group that pays the taxes say that enough is enough. We don't want -- we are not -- we don't want to afford this big group to do nothing anymore.
So that is, I think, we need a system that is included, new life chances.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
>> PETER ERIKSSON: And they are also taxpayers in the future.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: We have one minute before we go to the audience. I really want Marco to address this topic and then I'll go to you. Just very briefly.
>> MARCO PANCINI: Very briefly, I can give -- I can agree with this point of view, saying that a companies like Google pays the taxes to the existing laws in all the jurisdictions where we are present. But if you look at the macro economics, and look at countries like Italy, where I'm coming from, and God only knows where all the money that they gave to the Social Security in all of my 20 years as a worker working in Italy are going, if we don't enlarge the basis of contribution and tax also the contribution of megas into our country and creating new jobs, this system system will not only be sustained by taxes.
So I think of course we have to absolutely respect the law and paying the taxes in all of the jurisdictions where we are present. I also think more from a microeconomic point of view, we have to see how we can see the opportunities, like migration, like really an opportunity, and try to enlarge the basis for the contribution.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: I'm happy to hear that from a person from a company like Google.
Very short, Annette?
>> ANNETTE MUHLBERG: You have to first make people pay taxes and stop the holes in the legislation that allow companies to run away from paying taxes. That is the first basis.
The second basis, to go back to the robot thing, of course you don't put taxes on robots, but it's about the win, the profits, by rationalization. And I think there are some good examples already. We have examples where there is a big rationalization because of technology. You can say okay, there is a profit made and we can, you know, share this. And say okay, a certain amount of this goes, for example, into education of workers. So there are different ways how to deal with that.
And, in general, as I said about the online platform, how do they pay taxes? I think we really have to think about this and implement right at the beginning a tool on the platform to make sure that taxes are paid.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you, Annette.
Now I'd like to go to the audience. We have about 20 minutes and I'd like to do an old fashioned poll. How many of you are concerned about jobs being lost due to artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning? Put up your hand if you are worried.
(Showing of hands)
It's not so many.
How many of you think basic income is a good thing and we should have it?
(Showing of hands)
Okay. Now that's interesting.
Okay. Let's have questions or comments from the audience. Come to the microphone and tell us who you are.
>> AUDIENCE: I am Debra, an Italian living in the UK. And I want to say, if possible, two things. First of all, since I'm an Italian living in the UK, I want to point out the fact that was said before, that now we are living in a global world. And people can live anywhere. But it's still a privilege, I'm afraid. I'm one of the privileged ones, thanks to my passport. I could move to another country in the UK, even if in two years it won't be possible anymore. But I can do it. And, sadly said, people in this world are not the same because of that, and that's something that we should always remember.
And another thing concerning jobs and the use of digital revolution and all of these things, one thing that I really love about the Internet, and this has been mentioned, is the fact that it has made available more resources. The fact that we know that there are some people who don't pay much taxes. Because now times, digitalized, things are more available. I'm thinking about what came out with the Panama papers, when we knew about Guantanamo -- all of these things, without the Internet it wouldn't have been possible.
When there was kind of an illogical time, many things were kept secret. Only a few months ago, there were the proofs about what happened with Holocaust and the concentration camps before they were publicized.
So I think, and it has been already mentioned, I would love the Internet and the resources to help and ensure more about the rights of the laborers. What we can know, make the big society, the big companies more accountable and liable for what they do. Because we mentioned taxes. But we talk about the fact that now the digital world, digitization is used basically to control more, to put more pressure instead of being used for good, for ensuring more rights for who is actually working. Because it's getting scary, the fact that there is still a huge gap about the people that are paid on kind of the lower levels of works and ones that are on the top. I think it's something that we have to address if we really want to develop and talk about the sustainable future, that we will protect everybody, regardless of their stages or their citizenship.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you. I don't think anyone will disagree with that.
Can I have the next comment or question, please?
>> AUDIENCE: Hi. My name is Michael Olivia. Two points. The first one is, just quickly, about basic income, universal basic income. I'm a supporter of universal basic income. However, there still needs to be a lot of research done on this. We don't necessarily dthis yet have the ideal model. And even then, each model would need to be tailored to each individual culture and in many ways States in which it is being, I think, in which it is being implemented in.
With that said, there is already a group of people in the world that benefit from universal basic income, and those are the wealthy and those are the people that are generally speaking in the 1 percent. Through the nebulous tax system that exists, through the huge kinds of investment resources that they benefit from, et cetera.
So the fact that UBI is new, it's not really true. That's just that the way that a certain group of people have bought into UBI is very different from how we are now conceptualizing it.
With that said, in general, I honestly think that inequality is one of the biggest issues that we have today, especially in terms of society. So how technology can both address it as well as not exascerbate it I think is really one of the key concerns that we should, as the Internet governance community, should be considering. But, also, how new technologies, whether it's things like block chain or other ways of increasing transparency and accountability, specifically, of our financial systemd, I think that is one way that we can do this. Of course, everybody paying their fair share and avoiding tax havens is also a great way to do that.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you. All excellent points.
For the panelists, listen and absorb. Pick up what points you might want to respond to and then I'll come back to you a bit later.
>> AUDIENCE: Roberto Ratano (sp).
I'm part of the lucky generation that in the western world had the opportunity to do the education that we wanted and look for the job that we wanted. And there were plenty of opportunities.
I think that the way my children see this is in a completely different way. I'm wondering whether we are under estimating the fact that we need to have sort of a paradigm shift from the situation where you are deciding what to do in your life and then have enough opportunities to do what you wanted, and a situation in which you are forced to accept the job that is available, rather than being able to choose.
And I'm thinking -- I'm connecting this with the example of all the migrants. And I'm not talking necessarily about refugees, but the economic migrants, people who move and who are looking for better opportunities in other countries. And most of those people have the attitude that we have lost in the western world, which is to be able to accept what is available and to make a living out of it, rather than staying, laying back, and then being forced to look for some support from the society instead of rolling up our sleeves a bit more and trying to doing something, even if it's not 100 percent what we wanted to do.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you, Roberto.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi. I'm Krishna from the (?) School of Governance. I'm part of the copy fighters programme here, and we have drafted a brilliant proposal for copyrights from the EU.
The point is I'm here because I'm not worried about losing jobs to automation, because I feel that these were conversations that we had 100 years before when the industrialization took place. Everyone was scared about automations taking their jobs.
But we are here now. People have -- we moved on to better things. And all we need is skill development, and that's something that we need to address. How do we develop new skills that employ people, not in the sectors that is being taken away, automation, but other areas?
And there is a lot more that needs to be done in terms of research, science and technology, and informing everyone equally and creating a very rational society. So skill development is something that I want you to answer.
The other question is, I'm also very worried about politicians. You know, the populace politicians who don't really address the issue of job loss but then they place one group against the other. Like these group of people who entered your country and they do cheap labor and they took all your jobs. No. That is not the case. You are incapable of creating jobs for your people. But then they place one against the other. And it leads to conflicts within the society, which we witness world over.
How do we address this? These are my two questions. Thank you.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
Let's have the next question or comment, and then I'll come back to the panelists.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm Martina. I want to share my perspective on skills development. Because I come from Sicily, which is a place that deeply needs a bit more digital skills in schools. There is very little happening and a lot of kids cannot even use a computer, so that is really a reality.
And I discovered by chance there were the fab labs. But they are just places where people from any age can go and use digital fabrication tools, like 3D printing, electronics, and make their own stuff. They can make toys. They can make furniture. And they can just build things. And what they did was they tried to bring a fab lab into schools and see how kids reacted to this. Because they thought it was a mean that stimulate activity and also learning digitalization in a way which is very easy and intuitive. So they don't need someone to teach them all of these things as long as they have access to machines like 3D printers.
And I did this kind of an experiment in Sicily, where I come from. And, basically, what we see now is that a lot of kids are learning by themselves of the 3D print, of the codes, and some of them are deciding to go to engineering. And really where kids before didn't even think about going to this path and now are in the University, and otherwise would have chosen another path.
And I've talked a lot with the public authorities about this and I talked also with the commissioner about this. And it's something that is worth sharing and worth bringing forward and it's an extremely powerful tool to promote the education of digital skills and creativity and do it yourself and a way of seeing technology as a tool to achieve something, rather than something that has to be -- just thought from somewhere else.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you very much.
So I'm going to come back to the panelists. And after that, if there are more questions -- especially from this side of the room -- that would be really great.
You have one. So we will take yours and then we will go to the panelists.
>> AUDIENCE: I'm more worried about the Developing Countries. Imagine now we are defending the basic human rights of the workers in the large factories. They are working for one dollar a day to produce the shirts and maybe the components of the iPhone. I think we are really on the forefront of losing a job or two. So how do you address the crisis in the forthcoming years? That's really a huge issue.
The second thing is I think AI impact is so profound, not only to the work but also to humanity. We have seen a computer beating the top chess players of human beings. They have developed high intelligence which is even kind of higher than human beings, so that is a more profound question to reflect on.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
So lots of questions and thoughts. Let's go this way. The idea that there should be more research on basic universal income.
>> VILLE-VEIKKO PULKKA: Well, I agree with that basic statement, but I also think think that we already know a lot of things about basic income. I think Michael gave a really good comment that what should be emphasized is that there is not just one model and basic income cannot be discussed at the general levels, since the level of basic income replace benefits.
And, also, the employed taxation system will be in our mind in the effects of the last resort. So that is really important to bear in mind when discussing basic income.
What is the ideal model? I think in any case if basic income is implemented, it should in any case supplement in any and all situations. An ideal model in the end, that means it's a political question. It's -- it's the result of struggles between different interest groups.
Inequality, yes, I think that is a real big challenge now. And I forecast it will be a bigger challenge in the near future.
If you read a book by Anthony Atkins, "Inequality," his last book, let him rest in peace, it is clear that taxation is still the key or one of the key solutions to tackle inequality. But we could also discuss other methods. One interesting question is the question: Of who owns the robots rules the world. So maybe employer ownership should reduce the costs also in Europe but at global levels, not just taxation.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: We have four minutes in total. You have to have brief.
>> VILLE-VEIKKO PULKKA: Okay. I will just comment the history was exponential developments. It's history evidence good enough evidence to show that the jobs that will be capitalization, if there are actually more jobs. Perhaps, but then again it's impossible to forecast that kind of effect.
And in my humble opinion, we should widen our political imaginations. And if we could automate many jobs, okay, then let's automate them. And then let's minimize the working hours and try to (inaudible)
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
>> MARCO PANCINI: Very quickly on the inequality, which is a core issue that we need to discuss. Google builds products for everyone. So all of our services are the same for big companies. We also use our services for the small to medium enterprise, and to really create at once a positive level playing field and make sure that there is no inequality in using the digital tools.
But another important initiative that we are putting forward is to make sure that all of the development that we are doing on artificial intelligence are available for all of the community of interest. Partly through transfer flow, which is our open source approach to artificial intelligence.
One last comment. I think what happened in China is remarkable. But we don't have to forget that robots are trained by humans, and humans and robots actually can in the future work together.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you.
>> KAROLI HINDRIKS: Regarding how we can look back at history and how this can reflect to the future, I'd really like to quote the Estonian President who just a few weeks ago just asked the question: Would this industrial revolution have happened if we had taxed the tractors? And I think it's a very good question that you have to ask when you look forward.
But inequality, I think again looking what happened last year with Brexit and what happened last year in the United States was a great reflection of inequality. At the same time, it's interesting because we also have -- are living in an era where you think of a Nigerian teenager with a smartphone who has better access to information than President Bill Clinton had as President. So I think the very big question is how could we give the knowledge not to watch the cat videos from those smartphones, but to encourage to learn. Because today you can learn, you can get skills and get education for free from YouTube that you had to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars years ago.
So I think there is like this mismatch that at one point we are very much more equal than we have ever been before. But it goes back to the same question, the education.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you. Cat videos! Okay.
>> ANNETTE MUHLBERG: Thank you. I would love to talk about open standards and interoperability much more, because I think it's really important for our economy. But we don't have the time for that.
I want to pick up what has been said over there. This is a very privileged discussion here, a discussion of privileged people, about mobility and education and everything.
We have labour conditions in Germany where people in a supermarket are hired because the husband does not contribute to the family income. They know that they are part-time workers. They know that they have to take that job. They have know that they will do voluntary work, extra work, unpaid, because they are depending on that income to feed their children.
So, you know, this is in Germany the case. Now we have the example of working conditions where our iPhones are produced. God, these working conditions are miserable. And we have to talk about these labour standards and globalisation on a local and global level.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: Thank you. How to make politicians more accountable and responsible.
>> PETER ERIKSSON: Well, that's probably a matter of education as well. Isn't it?
If people learn to see the differences, then maybe they vote better. No?
I would say that the question here around taxes, that is of course very important. But maybe not so central in just this debate. But if you compare the countries that we see, for example, in Europe, if you see -- the countries that have a functional tax system, they are the countries that work best. It's a very central question, actually, to have a functioning tax system.
And on the European level, I really think it's important to -- what, for example, the greens do there to drive for a tax system to take away the holes and to wait and see that the companies have to pay taxes where they earn their money. It's a very important thing, of course.
But to say in the end what I would like to say is that to come back with what I started with, change is the new normality. Our countries, our world is changing all the time, and it's changing faster than ever. And learning is the answer. Learning is the meaning of life.
>> RINALIA ABDUL RAHIM: That's a good ending, too.
So we have come to the end of our session, unfortunately. It's a very short plenary, and I do apologize. There are some things we didn't touch on. We didn't touch on the aging population and how to adapt the workplace to the needs of aging people that cannot yet retire but they still need to work and also still contribute to pension funds and Social Security systems.
And we didn't talk about the effect of climate change and migration and how that affects work in various places, especially in Europe.
Yesterday in her speech the Prime Minister of Norway said: "We should not fear the future. We should try to understand it." And we are trying to do just that right now. But it's not enough, as you can see, and more needs to be done. And more needs to be done for European countries, individually and collectively, to develop an appropriate response for the challenge of the future for the work and for the work life.
So please join me in thanking the panelists, and thank you for your participation.
>> GERT AUVAART: Thank you very much. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the meeting.