The new jobs and the technological revolution. I speak with Ciro Cafiero

One of the keywords of our time, a sort of password to access the new job market, is the word “technological revolution”. It is a complex of innovations that include advanced robotics, the architect of the change of our industrial system, of work and of our habits. Focusing on work, it is interesting to note how this revolution is capable of totally redesigning its features and putting, for example, the gender of subordination up to altering, the relationship itself between capital and labor. I talked about it with Ciro Cafiero, lawyer, lawyer and university assistant (@cafiero_cc). Indeed, his recent studies on the work of the future and the tools / benefits that companies can enjoy starting from the new forms of individual and collective contracts as a consequence of the technological revolution that has affected their production can help us. Lawyer Cafiero can explain to us what are the effects of the technological revolution on the job? The main architects of this change are studied in the McKinsey Global Institute report, and they are above all 10 different technologies. The list: 1) mobile internet; 2) automation, including knowledge-based jobs; 3) internet of things; 4) cloud technology; 5) advanced robotics; 6) new generation genomics; 7) autonomous or almost autonomous means of transport; 8) technologies for energy storage; 9) 3D printing; 10) advanced materials (nanomaterials). In concrete terms, however, what effects and how many are the technological revolution on the employment relationship? There are at least four. The first is the disappearance of the less skilled jobs because they are fully occupied by machines. According to Forrester Research, an American giant of business consulting, technology, and in particular robotization, will destroy something like 22.7 million jobs, or 16% of the total, many but nothing compared to the 70 million or 47% of the workforce, estimated by the University of Oxford. In this direction, the US Bureau of Labor Statitics has also recently expressed that according to the technological revolution, in the USA the so-called “Middle skill gap” or the working gap between those with qualified skills and those without them.

But what will be the concrete effects on jobs? The birth of technology-related jobs represents the second fallout. These are new posts related to the digitization of production, ICT development, big data, social technologies and so on. For example, once again the US Bureau of Labor Statitics estimates that the demand for computer support specialists, electrical specialists, electrical technicians, industrial engineering technicians, cardiovascular technicians, respiratory therapists, HVAC, Telecommunications installers, and finally environmental science technicians. Is it possible to think of a scenario for future work? With the third relapse it is possible to respond. We are facing an alteration of the features of the works that will resist the technological revolution or that, as seen, will arise as a consequence of it. First of all, the characteristic traits of subordination and therefore working hours will lose meaning because each worker will manage his own, the workplace because it will be replaced by virtual work spaces, the managerial power of the employer because each worker will direct himself in a logic of the result. In this context, workers will have the opportunity to work when, where and how they want to “work anytime, anywhere” or, better to say, in “smart working” mode. Moreover, phenomena such as Uber and Airbnb already highlight the inadequacy of the subordination paradigm. Can you give us some examples? It remains doubtful, for example, who will take on the business risk in these cases, which is a key element of the employment relationship. Let’s take an example if Uber or Airbnb that manage the IT platform through which the customer books, in the case of Uber, the car, in the case of Airbnb, the accommodation for the holiday or if, respectively, the drivers, i.e. those who make their car, or the hosts, that is those who make their accommodation available, to offer the service. Indeed, the paradox is that, as a result of the Jobs Act (art. 2 of Legislative Decree no. 81 of 2015), which extends the discipline of subordinate work to all those who are “hetero – organized” in the business context drivers and hosts may appear as such because they are organized by the IT platform and therefore subject to this discipline.

What are the consequences of the classic alteration between capital and labor? The fourth relapse is an alteration of the relationship between capital and labor because it will decrease the need for everyone to offer their work to capital to ensure purchasing power. There are two reasons. The first is that everyone will be able to independently produce part of the things they need to live, therefore they will have less need to buy them on the market and, consequently, to request work from those who hold the capital to guarantee themselves, through remuneration, purchase power. To get an idea, just think of the technologies that, with low investments, will give millions of people the opportunity to source wind and solar energy; or, again, to technologies, such as 3D printers, which will give the possibility to produce within the walls of the home those artifacts that today need to be purchased on the shelves of large chains. These are what Rifkin, a scholar of the technological revolution, defines as “prosumers”: halfway between producers (producers) and consumers (consumers). The second is that, thanks to the collaborative commons, or better to say the share economy, everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy a multitude of services free of charge, from music to distribution to reading. this article has been published on