Robotic Age Dawns on Thailand: 12-million Jobs Will Be Lost to “Dehumanised Smart Systems” in the Next 20 Years

July 15, 20161:18 pm535 views

Dehumanised Smart Systems will soon take over more than 12 million jobs in Thailand over the next two decades. This will further lead to one-third of the 37 million positions in the workforce to be wiped out soon.

Workers in administrative job roles are at utmost risk of job loss owing to automation, and will be worst impacted by “Industry 4.0” or the world’s fourth industrial revolution. These findings are according to a joint study conducted by the Dhurakij Pundit University (DPU) and the Quality Learning Foundation (QLF) in association with the World Bank.

3D printing, robotics, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology will soon be replacing many job roles in most industries, thus resulting in increase in demand for talented and skilled graduates with expertise in mathematics and computer engineering.

Speaking at a forum titled “How Thai Education Should Prepare for Thailand 4.0” held by the QLF Tuesday, Kiatanan Luankeaw, DPU’s Dean of the Faculty of Economics, said the fourth industrial revolution will transform the way people work, Bangkok Post reports.

While some jobs might disappear, other new job roles and opportunities will be emerge with the technological trend shift, and jobs that do not exist today will soon become more common.

Kiatanan added: “Ten years from now, 65% of today’s school children will end up doing jobs that have not even been invented yet. The future workforce will need to align its skills to keep pace with the transition.”

“Complex-problem solving, critical thinking and creativity will become the top three priorities for skilled workers. With an avalanche of new products, new technologies and new ways of working, employees will have to be more creative to benefit from these changes.”

Kiatanan expressed cause of worry and concern towards the Thai education system which is currently designed for Industry 2.0, based on mass production. While some other countries in Asia have already moved onto imply Industry 3.0 systems and processes that focus on IT, automation and electronics for production.

The education system in Thailand is not designed to meet the skill demands and job requirements for the technologically advanced future. This will lead to dearth of talent and skilled manpower in the near future as the talent in Thailand is ill-equipped to set pace with the Industry 4.0 era, as workforce of the future.

It is important for the government and the education ministry to step up efforts to manage the transition period and build a workforce planning strategy to get the talent in Thailand equipped with future-proof skills, else the country as a whole might have to cope with inequality, poverty and unemployment in the decade to come.

According to the 2016 Thailand Economic Monitor released by the World Bank, “The aging of the working-age population will begin to affect the Thai economy within the next five years. The working-age population of Thailand is expected to shrink by around 11 percent as a share of the total population between now and 2040, from just under 49 million to around 40.5 million people. This projected decline is higher in Thailand than any developing country in East Asia. Enhancing labour productivity therefore will be the key.”

“While aging poses real challenges for Thailand, it is also an opportunity to implement key reforms that will promote healthy and productive aging for more Thais,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank Country Director for Southeast Asia. “Preparing for an aging population will make it especially important for Thailand to improve the quality of education and upgrade skills of the shrinking labour force, increase women’s participation in the job market, and ensure affordable and sustainable care for older people.”

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