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Seizing the opportunities of digitization


The buzzword of the fourth industrial revolution is omnipresent. It is primarily about the transformation of industrial production through digital technologies. But what does this mean for the future of the working world? A large-scale study conducted with the help of experts from the AIT is the first to try to shed light on the subject.

The digital revolution is influencing and changing our lives to a considerable extent. It is very likely that the pace and extent of change will even increase. This is because technical developments in this area are continuing at a rapid pace. One particularly sensitive area in this context is the world of work. Because whether technical progress will have a positive or negative impact has a very direct effect on living conditions here. 

What will tomorrow's work look like? What will workers have to be able to do? How many jobs will be left when the new technologies are implemented in companies? There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding these questions. Experts at AIT therefore attempted to find answers in a study: For the first time, they examined how employment in Austria could develop under the conditions of technological change until 2030. 

One of the most important effects of digitization is greater efficiency, for example through increasing automation in the production of goods. A major step here is the networking of intelligent machines that work and even make decisions without the need for human control. On the one hand, this means improved productivity; on the other hand, jobs in which simple routine tasks are performed are becoming redundant. 

Understanding the machine

The need for well-trained specialists as well as people who are well versed in the subject and in IT - especially an understanding of automated machinery would have to be stronger. Employees who can recognize and solve problems, who are creative and work well in a team with others will be in demand.

The education system must be prepared for this: Digital understanding should be taught in all subjects, and computer science classes should be anchored in all schools. But companies also have a role to play. Employees must be able to help shape the change processes, and further training opportunities must be created within the company - ideally in collaboration with state-run training centers.

Human qualities become more important

However, in order to successfully master the digital future, good ideas are also of crucial importance. Only if the possibilities of digitization are used to develop new products, customer-oriented services and clever business models will the bottom line be more jobs. Increasing efficiency in the manufacturing process will not help here. Original ideas, empathy and social competence in general, however, are deeply human qualities. They cannot be replaced by robots.

Change is coming. But if it is met with openness and a dash of optimism, the working world of tomorrow can certainly be shaped in a positive way. For this to succeed, however - as the study authors also suggest - the right conclusions must be drawn from the challenges ahead.