Covid-19 to accelerate adoption of automation technologies, says Nasscom

Topics Coronavirus | Nasscom | Lockdown

About 60 per cent of occupations have at least 30 per cent of their activities that are automatable, according to the report
The Covid-19 pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the development of automation technologies by global and Indian companies, especially in the area of drones for the purpose of surveillance and medicine delivery, Indian IT industry body Nasscom said in a report on Covid-19 – Tipping Point for Automation.

"The global and Indian industry will require unprecedented and concerted attempts to recover and revive from the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis, and in this process, it will find itself at a crucial tipping point of mass-transition towards wide-scale automation adoption," said Debjani Ghosh, president, Nasscom.

However, Ghosh flagged off the perception of automation resulting in major job losses and said the functions were only a subset of the job role in most cases. "Less than 5 per cent of the jobs that exist today can be automated fully. This finding itself offers immense opportunity to study what’s truly automatable and whether that automation is more beneficial for the workforce in the long-term."

The report cited sewing machine operators, graders and sorters of agricultural products as examples of completely automatable occupations.

In rest of the cases (95 per cent), automation will impact the way we work, but not eliminate jobs. About 60 per cent of occupations have at least 30 per cent of their activities that are automatable, according to the report. "While these aspects of our job roles can be automated, skills which require social, emotional, and cognitive skills will remain irreplaceable," Ghosh said.

The report referred to a study titled Benefiting from Automation of Work study çarried out by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte in the UK, which found that while 800,000 low-skilled jobs were eliminated due to the rise of automation, it paved the way for creating 3.5 million higher-skilled new jobs. The new jobs paid an average of $13,000 more per year.

The industry body also opined that government agencies had showed a "remarkable" adoption of automation in areas ranging from lockdown surveillance to drone-based medicine delivery, and e-Pass generation for essential services personnel.

The unprecedented economic impact of Covid-19 on demand and supply, along with implications on geopolitics, and globalization, will influence the future of automation and its impact on jobs, the report said.

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