David Massiah, the general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Workers’ Union (ABWU), is warning workers to be on their guard, given the rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Speaking on Sunday, September 17, at the Union’s 56th annual delegates conference, Massiah said there are four factors affecting the job market to which keen attention must be paid:
The balkanization of the world, with the possible escalation of conflict; the significant growth in the importance of Artificial Intelligence; the continuing impact of climate change; and inflation.
Massiah says the speed at which AI has expanded and its implications for workers are of great concern to the Union, as AI is expected to see an annual growth of 37.3 percent from 2023 to 2030.
“With the advent of powerful computers, increased storage capacity, and faster data processing speed, these machines are displacing workers,” Massiah warns, “because of their ability to automate tasks that were previously performed by humans.”
This automation, he notes, not only saves time and money, but also increases efficiency and accuracy.
Therefore, he says, the Union must ensure that the Government introduces AI into the society to effect positive changes that benefit the working class – since the technology is being pushed to replace workers in the future.
Meanwhile, Massiah says the recent links forged between the African Union, China, and Russia – as well as the bonding taking place between Africa and the Caribbean – especially the development of a digital bank, are likely to be game changers.
This new trend in banking, Massiah notes, has affected, and continues to affect, our society in many ways – including senior citizens’ struggle to process their cash deposits.
Further, he says, “The geopolitical atmosphere which the country is currently experiencing is fraught with threats around which we have to navigate,” Massiah says.
And one of the major threats to the Caribbean is the impact of the US dollar, which is so important to regional economies.
Any significant increases in the cost of doing business would prove very harmful to the cost of living in Antigua and Barbuda and to workers’ stability, the general secretary warns.
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