New Tech and Automation

29 Aug 2019
13:15 - 13:45
St George Room

New Tech and Automation

The Mirror and the Lamp view of Automation


The Mirror and Lamp analogy has been used for many years to reflect back to people what is happening around them and then shine the lamp on new possible futures.


The use of automation in almost every aspect of our lives is expanding exponentially and people are losing their jobs because of new automated systems. Mines are moving to automated trucks and coal cutters and their bosses are boasting that soon they will only need a few maintenance people and a few controllers guiding the machinery with computers. Warehouses now use robots to load shelves and pick orders. Supermarkets are cutting staff and customers process their own orders through tills. In many parts of the world driverless cars are already operating. It won’t be long before we have driverless taxis, delivery vehicles and public transport.


There are already computers writing software without a human programmer. OHS will feel the impact of this movement in two ways. Firstly they will need to deal with people who are under threat of becoming unemployed and taking dangerous shorts cuts because they have lost interest and take less care with their safety precautions. Secondly plans are already being formulated to automate some of the tasks OHS people do. This is another threatened job.


But there is light at the end of the tunnel. This presentation will present some of those possible future scenarios so that those at risk of losing their job can take heart and plan for what seems a very unfamiliar future.