Who’s job is it to take out the digital trash?

Dorothea Hoehtker is a senior researcher at the ILO RESEARCH department

How do Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites protect you, the consumer, from disturbing content on the web? Many of us think our computers’ sophisticated algorithms perform such constant editing, but algorithms are not able to make subtle distinctions, e.g. between art and pornography. Rather, technology companies rely on people to do this work. They are the so-called Commercial Content Moderators (CCM).
While CCMs remain largely invisible, some scholars, journalists and artists have started to bring attention to this workforce and the toll editing the Internet takes on them.

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New technologies and the dynamics of job creation

Irmgard Nubler, senior economist at the International Labour Organization

The recent wave of innovation and technological change has sparked a lively debate on the future of work. Some believe that technological innovations will destroy jobs on a massive scale, forecasting a jobless future. Others are confident that forces will be mobilized that create new jobs and even a golden age of quality job creation. This optimism is supported by historical experience which demonstrates that initial phases of job destruction were eventually followed by strong job creation. One of the central issues is, then, whether the current wave of technological change will once more generate a sustained process of jobs creation. Another one is how policies can support this process to meet aspirations of societies.

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How can we create decent jobs in the digital age?

Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization

Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization

Could a robot replace your job? Fears about technology’s impact on the labour market are nothing new. Way back before the International Labour Organization (ILO) came into being in 1919, the Luddites were one group of early-19th century English workers who destroyed the labour-saving textile machines which were replacing their jobs.

The anxiety that machines could kill millions of jobs in our globalized workplaces is real – and it comes at a time when the world economy is already facing a major employment crisis. The jobs gap in G20 countries stands at about 54 million and could expand to over 60 million by 2018 unless current growth trends improve.

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