THE RISE in automation that’s seeing robots pinch jobs from humans will turn our species into slave labour, claims a terrifying new report.
The UN predicts droids will nab a staggering 56 percent of low-skilled manufacturing roles in South East Asia over the next two decades, which in turn will fuel human trafficking and slavery in these regions, according to the study from supply chain analyst firm Verisk Maplecroft.
Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam are viewed as being particularly at risk from potential labour abuses stemming from this impending era of automation.
This grouping of countries, known as the ASEAN-5, stand to lose out due to their dependence on low-skilled jobs and existing high levels of labour violations.
“Displaced workers without the skills to adapt or the cushion of social security will have to compete for a diminishing supply of low-paid, low-skilled work in what will likely be an increasingly exploitative environment,” said Verisk Maplecroft’s head of human rights, Dr Alexandra Channer.
“Without concrete measures from governments to adapt and educate future generations to function alongside machines, it could be a race to the bottom for many workers.”
Businesses argue that automation is revolutionising manufacturing and lowering labour costs for industries around the world.
But the new report argues that brands who don’t recognise the risks involved with these sweeping changes could pay the price.
But in prosperous London, which is least at risk, the figure drops to just 39 per cent of posts.
Sectors highlighted by Verisk Maplecroft as being particularly prone to automation are agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, retail and electronics.
Vietnam is flagged as the highest risk of the five countries studied, where 36 million people could be replaced with robots in an environment where exploitation is already high.
Women will also be disproportionately impacted in the garment textile and footwear industry.
In Vietnam and Cambodia, 85 percent of these jobs are potentially at risk, with more than 75 percent of these roles occupied by women.
Verisk Maplecroft is advising that governments work with businesses to mitigate the adverse impacts of automation on their own supply chains.