Robots may cause unemployment: Deputy PM
Deputy PM Lodewijk Asscher has expressed fears that robots will increasingly be able to take over tasks historically performed by people, leading to a future rise in unemployment. Robots could replace cleaners, warehouse employees and even taxi drivers, according to Asscher.
"Robots are rapidly becoming more accessible, more reliable and cheaper,” Asscher said at a conference on robotics. Asscher also heads up the Social Affairs ministry, which organized the event.
“They are cheap, fast, never sick, working 24 hours a day, never ask for wage increases, are not represented by unions, and do not strike.”
Asscher has pushed for improvements to education in the coming years, so that young people learn skills that future employers will demand.
"When robots take over unskilled and routine work, we have to educate our youth for other kinds of work,” Asscher said.
Asscher has also called for changes to the tax system, saying that it should be adjusted to recognize technological progress, adding that the rise of robotics and the digital economy are not equivalent when compared to earlier periods of technological development, he said.
Union President Reinier Castelein has commented on the speech, saying that if Asscher believes this trend will be observed, he must also come up with a plan for the middle class for that they do not become the victim.