Digital: Jobs cuts yes, but new jobs will be created says Ericsson group CTO
By Lum Ka Kay June 7, 2016
- Industries and governments have to work together to achieve UN SDGs
- Connectivity will be key in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
ALTHOUGH digitalisation may lead to massive job cuts, news ones will also be created, according to Ericsson group chief technology officer Ulf Ewaldsson (pic above).
“There will be jobs that no-one has ever thought of,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Ewaldsson said he believes the Fourth Industrial Revolution will move the global economy towards a services-oriented model, in which connectivity will be the key ingredient.
“Because the Fourth Industrial Revolution is based on a ‘Networked Society’ – a society that can benefit from connectivity,” he said, using Ericsson’s description of a digital society.
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But this would also require governments to think about how to leverage ICT to grow the economy further, he said, referring to a report on How Information and Communications Technology Can Accelerate Action on the Sustainable Development Goals (PDF), produced by Ericsson and the Earth Institute, Columbia University.
According to the report, transformative solutions are urgently needed to achieve the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), along with new partnerships between governments, the private sector, international organisations, civil society and academia.
However, many are not ready for such transformation as of today, the report found.
“The UN (United Nations) Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development estimates that 148 governments had national broadband plans or digital agendas by mid-2015,” it said.
“Yet too few have adequately integrated their existing investments in ICT with their sustainable development agendas, and thus are not fully leveraging the potential of ICT.
“In this, governments and policymakers have a special responsibility to ensure that key public–sector agencies, institutions and policy frameworks are reformed to support ICT-enabled transformation,” the report added.
Core government processes – payment, tax collection, procurement, training, human resources, programme design, public deliberation, information management, analytics, legislative drafting, even voting – should be upgraded with the transformative capability of ICT in focus, according to Ericsson and the Earth Institute.
“To leverage ICT effectively to achieve the SDGs by the target date of 2030, a number of things need to be put in place,” the report said.
“For technology and innovation to deliver transformational change at the pace and scale required, three key supporting aspects need to align: An enabling policy framework; strong public-private partnerships (PPP); and sufficient public and private investment,” it added.
The report also urged governments to start mapping current realities and pace of change against the SDGs, arguing that “the ‘business-as-usual’ path is insufficient to achieve the SDGs by 2030 in both urban and rural areas.”
“A back-casting process can then be used to determine what is needed to bridge the gap. Universally this will require rapid acceleration of public investment and services in key areas – especially health, education and both urban and rural infrastructure.
“This is where ICT comes in: Timely deployment can ensure faster technology upgrading and wide-scale access to quality training and service provision at low cost,” the report said, warning that “with 2030’s targets looming, this transition must be fast – we simply do not have the luxury of cautious, incremental uptake of new approaches.”
Zooming in on this region, Ewaldsson said that “there is a lot of things happening in South-East Asia.”
“The demographic in this region is a young one where South-East Asians have the tendency to go online much more often – the opportunity of doing things like starting an online business is twice here as compared with other areas of the world,” he told DNA.
“More collaboration and cooperation is needed in the region, and I believe Malaysia can play an important role in this as it is one of the more advanced countries in South-East Asia,” he said, adding that the country’s industrial policy needs to be “more progressive.”
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