Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeted over the weekend that “the machines” were a bigger threat to the world than North Korea.
As the prospect of mounting job losses from automation looms, one Australian company wants to prepare businesses for the future.
Sydney-based research and development firm Faethm has launched its analytics platform Tandem, which uses proprietary analytics of financial, market and workforce data to help companies, governments and individuals plan long term for job losses due to automation.
The company, led by co-founder and chief executive Michael Priddis, has appointed former SAP executive Greg Miller as Tandem’s chief executive.
“Automation is inevitable, so there is no better time than now to understand the potential impact of it across the board,” Mr Miller said.
“Every company needs to take an individual approach to how they combat these issues and we saw a hole in the market for a platform that would guide them through the process.”
Ed Husic, Labor’s spokesman for employment services, workforce participation and future of work, says we’re “flying blind” when it comes to grasping the impact of automation on workforces. “Not only do we have little by way of a national game plan to deal with the effect of automation, but we have very little localised data on what it will mean for local firms and local jobs,” he said.
Faethm may have an answer. It says an annual licence to use its product will cost $250,000, and the company is also working on an app due sometime this year for individuals that will help them assess the likely impact of automation on their career and point them towards potential retraining or reskilling options.
ASX-listed manufacturing firm BlueScope Steel is an early Tandem client. The company’s general manager of business improvement, Andrew Garey, said Tandem offered a way of tangibly estimating the impact of technology on BlueScope Steel.
“The fact that we can actually put a financial stake in the ground on the magnitude of change, which is possible using our real information, makes it compelling,” he said.
“There is no doubt the nature of work is going to change — just as it has historically — but at an accelerated rate.”
Faethm co-founder and chief operating officer Carolyn Colley said Tandem’s analysis showed that most large companies across all sectors faced a moderate to high risk of being impacted by automation. “While large and multinational employers are the primary users of Tandem, any company employing more than 500 staff would benefit from both technological and operating insight,” she said.