Future wave of innovation will bring widespread benefits, not loss of employment

By Li Qiaoyi Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/4 21:33:39

Sebastian Buckup Photo:Li Qiaoyi/GT

China should invest more in innovation, which is increasingly important given that demographic changes in China are resulting in a shrinking labor force.

The future of China's productivity is related to how much innovation and investment can happen in fields like science and technology, enterprise infrastructure and the financial system.

It needs to be pointed out that digital innovation in China is actually very strong. Some scholars think that the trend of digital innovation started late in China, but the country is catching up with the top global rivals at a high speed and is taking over in some areas. In the future, biotechnology will be another major growth area. There will be a lot of ethical and moral questions, but the sector could deliver benefits for everyone.

As for fears of robots replacing human workers amid the shift toward a robotics-powered future - which may well seem like a looming scenario given that the Chinese economy will be driven more by innovation - it would be advisable for people to learn more core skills in order to avoid being replaced. We should cooperate with the robots instead of resisting them. Actually, instead of the technology revolution destroying lots of jobs, more new jobs are likely to emerge. There will also be protection in the form of political intervention and other restraints. The range of the people who will get the benefit from the new era will not only be decided by the market, but also by how the technology will be used.

Also worth noting is that China's commitment to innovation isn't something that it will pursue on its own. The positive dynamics of fueling future innovation will supposedly depend on countries working together to exchange goods, technologies and ideas. China is growing stronger, but its productivity changes are linked to the deep economic changes in the US and Europe. All countries will benefit from globalization and open markets, and it is right to encourage fair trade. We should maintain an open system, focus on inclusive growth, and ensure that the losers from globalization are compensated and the gains more equally distributed.

The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Li Qiaoyi based on an exclusive interview with Sebastian Buckup, head of Programming and member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum (WEF) last week during the WEF "Summer Davos" forum in Dalian. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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