POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO MITIGATE THE NEGATIVE SOCIAL EFFECTS OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENT

Fernando Alcoforado *

The technological advance with the increasing use of artificial intelligence constitutes a threat to the social ascent of the workers, as well as can put in check the existence of the own capitalist system to the extent that the mass unemployment will contribute more and more to the fall in the consumption of goods and services. This situation would contribute to the mass unemployment of blue-collar and white-collar workers on national and world levels and to the cessation of the capital accumulation process without which the capitalist system would be brought to collapse and social upheaval at national and global levels. In order to cope with long-term mass unemployment, governments will have to revise the current social safety net and have it evolve to meet a larger contingent of unemployed people and help them to reintegrate into a society where it will occur the replacement of human beings by machines in the productive systems. In order to increase the demand for goods and services and avoid the collapse of the capitalist system, the possible solutions presented are those that would encourage the so-called Creative Economy and the adoption of an Income Transfer program.

The ongoing technological advance suggests that we are experiencing a transition that puts enormous strain on the economy and society. The conventional education currently offered in several countries of the world to workers and students who are preparing to enter the labor market is totally ineffective. In other words, education systems are preparing workers for a world of labor that is disappearing or no longer exists. Martin Ford, author of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, says the problem is that is that a lot of people are going to the job market while the machines are driving people out. The secret to the future of work in a world with increasing use of Artificial Intelligence lies in the adoption of new measures aimed at the qualification of the workforce, which should know how to use technology as a complement, a tool, not as a tool substitute for their abilities. Some functions are assigned to intelligent machines and systems. New roles for humans arise in the face of this new scenario. It is incumbent upon education system planners to identify the new roles for human beings and to carry out a wide-ranging revolution in education at all levels aiming at the qualification of teachers and the structuring of teaching units to prepare their pupils for a world of work in which they will have to deal with intelligent machines.

To fit workers into a labor market characterized by the substitution of human beings for machines in the productive systems, countries such as Switzerland and Finland, for example, have already begun to actively consider this new reality and have begun a process of adapting their societies – which began with the reformulation of their educational systems, privileging the development of the ability of metacognition (the ability of the human being to monitor and self-regulate cognitive processes, that is, the human being’s ability to be aware of his actions and thoughts), language proficiency (in particular English, because most human knowledge is registered in this language) and a curriculum based on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics associated with the Greek “method” of “liberal art” because it is understood that it is a way efficient of adapting the way of thinking to a mentality more directed to the creation of intellectual property, in which the connection of knowledge – in a more comprehensive way – and the imagination – to act creatively in society and generate innovation is highlighted [TIBAU, Marcelo. Inteligência Artificial e o mercado de trabalho (Artificial Intelligence and the labor Market). Available on the website <http://www.updateordie.com/2016/10/08/inteligencia-artificial-e-o-mercado-de-trabalho//>].

In order to increase the demand for goods and services and avoid the collapse of the capitalist system, the possible solutions presented are those that would encourage the so-called Creative Economy and the adoption of an Income Transfer program. The question is whether the Creative Economy will be able to compensate for the mass unemployment that productive activities will generally provide with the technological advancement, especially artificial intelligence. The Income Transfer Program through which the state would provide income to the unemployed would be adopted to compensate for the shortcomings of the Creative Economy.

Marisa Adán Gil’s article under the title Economia criativa é saída para o desemprego (Creative economy is solution for unemployment says expert), available on the website <http://revistapegn.globo.com/Empreendedorismo/noticia/2015/12/economia-criativa-e-saida-para-o-desemprego-diz-especialista.html> says that “one of the most effective ways to generate new jobs is to stimulate the creative industry, according to George Windsor, director of research at Nesta, a nonprofit organization that aims to stimulate the 12 sectors of the creative economy in the UK. In Windsor’s view, job creation linked to creativity has enormous potential to move the economy. The creative industry adds value to products in a way that no other industry is capable of”. According to him, there are several ways to generate jobs linked to the knowledge economy: stimulate the gaming industry; develop local creative nuclei that work based on the cultural traditions of each region; facilitate credit for creative sectors of the economy; investment in design and technology education. If the British government embraces these measures, he believes it is possible to create 1 million jobs in the UK by 2030. Today, the Creative Economy is one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy.

The article A economia criativa no mundo moderno (The creative economy in the modern world), available on the website <https://descola.org/drops/a-economia-criativa-no-mundo-moderno/>, informs that the term “Creative Economy” refers to activities with socioeconomic potential that deal with creativity, knowledge and information. In order to understand them, it is necessary to keep in mind that companies of this follow-up combine the creation, production and commercialization of cultural creative assets and innovation such as Fashion, Art, Digital Media, Advertising, Journalism, Photography and Architecture. In common, companies in the area rely on talent and creativity to effectively exist. They are distributed in 13 different areas: 1) architecture; 2) advertising; 3) design; 4) arts and antiquities; 5) crafts; 6) fashion; 7) cinema and video; 8) television; 9) publishing and publications; 10) performing arts; 11) radio; 12) leisure software; and, 13) music.

Martin Ford, author of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, states that in our economy and society, machines are gradually undergoing a fundamental transition: they develop beyond their historical role as tool and, in many cases, becoming “autonomous workers”. If we accept the idea that it is unrealistic that more investment in education and training is unlikely to solve the problem of unemployment and stop automation, Ford believes that the most effective solution is to adopt a policy of guaranteeing income for workers. This idea is not new. Friedrich August von Hayek, Austrian economist and philosopher, later naturalized British, considered one of the greatest representatives of the Austrian School of economic thought, was the powerful proponent of this idea when he published his work Law, Legislation and Liberty between 1973 and 1979. The neoliberal income transfer program of the Lula and Dilma Rousseff governments in Brazil is an example of the application of Hayek’s income guarantee policy.

In addition to the need to provide basic net security, Ford asserts that there is a powerful argument for income-guarantee policy because technological advancement promotes social inequality and threatens consumption. The policy of guarantee of income would be the strategy that would provide a survival to the dying capitalist system world-wide. It would compel the State to levy taxes on companies, especially those with a technology base, to ensure the provision of public services and enable the adoption of the income guarantee policy for the unemployed population. If the incentive to the creative economy and the income transfer program are not successful, it will lead the world to political, economic and social chaos at the national and global levels that will accelerate the end of capitalism as a world system as a consequence of its diminishing returns of GDP growth and world profit rate.

* Fernando Alcoforado, 78, member of the Bahian Academy of Education and  the Brazilian Academy of Letters of Rotary – Bahia Section, engineer and doctor in Territorial Planning and Regional Development by the University of Barcelona, ​​university professor and consultant in the areas of strategic planning, business planning, regional planning and planning of energy systems, is the author of the books Globalização (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1997), De Collor a FHC (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 1998), Um Projeto para o Brasil (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2000), Os Condicionantes de Desenvolvimento do Estado da Bahia (PhD Thesis, University of Barcelona, ​​http: //www.tesisenred.net/handle/10803/1944, 2003), Globalização e Desenvolvimento (Editora Nobel, São Paulo, 2006), Bahia- Desenvolvimento da Bahia do Século XVI ao Século XX e Objetivos Estratégicos na Era Contemporânea (EGBA, Salvador, 2008), The Necessary Conditions of the Economic and Social Development- The Case of the State of Bahia (VDM Verlag Dr. Müller Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG, Saarbrücken, Germany, 2010), Aquecimento Global e Catástrofe Planetária (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2010), Amazônia Sustentável- Para o progresso do Brasil e combate ao aquecimento global (Viena- Editora e Gráfica, Santa Cruz do Rio Pardo, São Paulo, 2011), Os Fatores Condicionantes do Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2012), Energia no Mundo e no Brasil- Energia e Mudança Climática Catastrófica no Século XXI (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2015), As Grandes Revoluções Científicas, Econômicas e Sociais que Mudaram o Mundo (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2016) e A Invenção de um novo Brasil (Editora CRV, Curitiba, 2017).

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