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AI-powered automation will have an ethnic bias

July 30, 2019 Articles, WEF
Kai Chan Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative The Fourth Industrial Revolution, with artificial intelligence (AI) as one of its principal drivers, promises big changes. AI automation is expected to lead to, among other things, large disruptions in the labour market. A 2013 Oxford study estimated that almost half of employment in the US is at risk of computerization. Similarly, a 2017 McKinsey report suggests that by 2030 one-third of work activities could be displaced by automation. Some countries, industries and professions are more susceptible to these risks, which means these changes will lead to redistributive effects. That is, AI is expected to lead to increased economic inequality both across and within countries. But this is not the first time that a technological revolution has threatened jobs and to upend society. The First Industrial Revolution generated similar concerns and was the catalyst of the "Great Divergence" in cross-country incomes; nations that industrialized became rich, while those that did not were left behind. The gap has grown with each successive jump in technological progress. Although AI automation will bring about significant productivity gains for society as a whole, it will nevertheless spawn winners and losers. Economists usually speak of such…

Which countries provide their citizens with the best higher education?

May 4, 2017 Articles, WEF
04 May 2017 Kai Chan Distinguished Fellow, INSEAD Innovation & Policy Initiative Universities are vital for developing human capital. They are essential cogs in the global knowledge economy. Where once only available to few, higher education is now almost a requirement for entry to the middle class, and even more so to the ranks of the elite. Competition among universities has given rise to rankings that try to ascertain which are the globally most competitive. These lists are typically based on metrics such as research output, prestige and accomplishments of alumni. Although the various measures produce different orderings, the global top schools are highly similar across the assessments. The number of globally-ranked schools in a country is then invariably used to measure the quality of higher education there. However, this perspective overlooks the growing inequality of higher education. The challenge of our time: inequality Inequality is one of society’s biggest challenges. But much of that debate has centred on inequality of income and wealth; much less attention has been paid to inequality of opportunity for high-quality tertiary education. Yet, inequality of education is a driver of income inequality and a force behind assortative mating – privileged people tend to go…

A Fairer Pay System?

April 6, 2014 Articles, Letters
Letter to the New York Times (April 5, 2014) To the Editor: Re “Can We Close the Pay Gap?,” by Deborah Hargreaves (“The Great Divide” series, Sunday Review, March 30): One of the problems of tying the pay of chief executives (or other senior management) to that of the typical or lowest paid employee of the company (such as capping C.E.O. pay to 50 times that of the median worker at the company) is that it creates incentives for senior management to artificially elevate the median pay. As Ms. Hargreaves mentions, a greedy C.E.O. could improve his remuneration by outsourcing, offshoring or even eliminating low-paid positions. A better stick to engender greater social responsibility by senior managers might be to tie their compensation to the national median income. In this way captains of industry — who hold a lot of political sway — are motivated to think about the greater society, and what is good for corporate America would also be good for the nation as a whole. KAI L. CHAN Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 31, 2014 Letter as it appeared in the NYT © 2014 New York Times Company




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