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Governments Challenged by “The Future of Work” in 2017.


January 18, 2017

The sharing economy, artificial intelligence, job automation, 3D printing and the “gig economy” of increasing freelancing will challenge policy makers at every level of government in 2017. The problem is that no one can effectively predict what the implications of these digitally-enabled business model disruptions. The policy ramifications of social safety nets, worker rights and taxation will continue to vex policy makers.

My “future of work” implications for government predictions for 2017 are:

  1. Regulation cannot keep up with innovation in 2017. Governments will not be able to keep up with the implications of digital technologies to disrupt business and economic models.
  2. Governments will not be able to take advantage of the sharing economy in 2017. Services like Uber and AirBNB can help to increase citizen incomes and taxes at the cost of traditional regulated businesses. Safety issues are introduced. At the same time, the more efficient use of automobilies through the sharing economy can reduce energy usage and pollution. Governments will not be able to do the cost/benefit calculation in 2017.
  3. The threat and opportunity of automation will bedevil governments in 2017. That’s because the job implications of automation in any jurisdiction will not be known. Predictions include the loss of almost all jobs, just menial labour, the middle class or no real job loss at all. Any major adjustment to job distribution has significant ramifications for government tax revenue and government social safety nets. The implication to any government jurisdiction could be reduced outsourcing thanks to automation and 3D printing. Or, the need to improve education for high skilled jobs. Or, the need to invest in innovation hubs.
  4. The “gig economy” will be the silent “future of work” government challenge in 2017. Increasing freelancing can help businesses to scale. But, higher levels of self-employment has tax, worker rights, social safety net implications. As does the ability for freelancers to move to less expensive locales. The gig economy will be less of a government preoccupation than automation and the sharing economy in 2017.
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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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