Technological Change and the Future of Work—Some Issues from a Developing Country Perspective

  • Kim Jurgensen
  • Imraan ValodiaEmail author


The paper examines the challenges and opportunities for developing countries that may emanate from the fourth industrial revolution. The paper argues that there is very little concrete evidence to suggest that the new artificial intelligence and machine learning based technologies will necessarily destroy large number of jobs. In fact, the evidence that does exist suggests that the impact on total employment will not be nearly as extensive as has been suggested. In some economies and some sectors, we can expect employment to grow. In most developing countries, a large proportion, if not the majority, of workers are employed in the informal economy. There has been no assessment of the likely impacts of the fourth industrial revolution on the informal economy. It is also important to consider the potential of new technology to advance gender equality—for example by improving working conditions in areas such as the care economy, where most women are employed. The potential of the fourth industrial revolution to place a higher value of care work, and to reshape the distribution of unpaid work are important issues that need to be considered.


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Copyright information

© Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Commerce, Law and ManagementUniversity of WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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