Finnish task force maps survival strategies in AI era
HELSINKI, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Fifteen percent of current jobs in Finland are likely to disappear during the next ten years as artificial intelligence gains ground, a Finnish working group revealed on Wednesday.
The widely based working group commissioned by the ministry of economic development suggested measures for bracing the impact.
Osmo Soininvaara, a former Green Party MP who chaired the task force, said the losses are smaller than those experienced in the 1960s when the introduction of mechanised agriculture killed a lot more rural labor opportunities.
"The problem is that in the 1960s and 1970s people were offered industrial jobs instead and often tripled their salaries. Now the new opportunities may offer lower earnings to many," Soinivaara said.
Mika Lintila, the minister for economic development, commented that the forthcoming change would be comparable to the arrival of electricity in the society and industries.
Lintila noted that the Nordic welfare state was the solution to the change caused by industrialization. "Now the impact is wider and we must develop the welfare society in a way that supports the ability of people to adapt," Lintila said when receiving the working group report.
The working group comprised social, business and labor market expertise and submitted tens of policy suggestions.
Artificial intelligence would divide the labor force into winners and losers. Unlike earlier stages in automation, artificial intelligence would not threaten only routine and physical work, but also expert level jobs including lawyers and medical staff, said the report.
The working group suggests that publicly funded salary adjustment compensation should be available for those who end up doing low paid work. Social security systems and education should be enhanced.
The Finnish report raises concern about the possible increase in the influence of international companies that would gain monopoly in the fields.
"The risk is that the benefits from artificial intelligence will be distributed more unevenly than in earlier major changes of the industries and business," it says.
The group is confident that international monopolies could be kept in check and control. It refers to the recent European Union data protection rules as an example of the feasibility of giving orders to "even the global giants".
Those making use of artificial intelligence should be required to offer transparency in their collection of information and in showing how their chosen algorithms function, said the group.
Rules should be made on the principle about in what kind of situations a machine can decide independently and when it only produces material for decision making.
The Finnish working group states explicitly, however, that the state must not intervene in the competitive business and industrial scene.
"If a company will lose in competition against rivals that make better use of artificial intelligence, no public support measures should be made available, extending the life of the company artificially," it added.