Robots v Covid-19: the future of work?

By EBRD multimedia team

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“Telecommuting”, “quaranteams”, “doomscrolling”, “upperwear” and curating one’s Zoom background have all become a part of our new remote working reality. If we were unnerved by the way digital technology was transforming our world before the pandemic, Covid-19 has only made the speed of change even faster.

It is estimated that in the next five years close to 85 million jobs may be displaced by algorithms, artificial intelligence and robotics.

According to the World Economic Forum Jobs Report 2020, “automation, in tandem with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario for workers. Technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs and skills by 2025. Time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will become equal.”

The report also estimate that 97 million new roles may emerge as the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms emerges.

Our presenters Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law discuss what the Covid-19 transformation means to the future of work in the latest episode of our podcast Pocket Dilemmas. They are joined by: 

Jason Furman, the Aetna Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy jointly at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and the Department of Economics at Harvard University. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics,

Beata Javorcik, our Chief Economist and Professor of Economics, University of Oxford.

Is the future of work already here? What is a bigger threat to our future: Covid-19 or robots? All of this and more in our latest podcast.

Like what you hear? Review our podcast on iTunes, email us at, or tweet us @EBRD #EBRDdilemmas

You can rate, review and subscribe to Pocket Dilemma on ITunes, Spotify and Soundcloud, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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