Australia’s automation opportunity: reigniting productivity and inclusive income growth

4 Mar 2019

Powerful new automation technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and advanced robotics are already transforming the Australian economy and the workplace. These technologies present an enormous opportunity to restore momentum to the Australian economy and extend the nation’s 30-year economic boom in an inclusive way. However, the potential scale and distributional effects of this disruption need to be carefully managed.

This report details how automation and AI will affect Australia. Automation and AI will be disruptive, just as other technology adoptions have been disruptive in the past. They will displace jobs and disrupt workplaces and some vulnerable communities. However, the extent of this change is neither unprecedented nor unmanageable, and the benefits will be lasting. If Australia embraces automation with an eye to national interests, the nation will be able to develop new business opportunities, boost productivity, and create better-paying jobs—keeping employment high and reinvigorating per capita income growth sufficiently to offset the impact of an aging population.

As we adopt automation and AI, there will certainly be challenges to navigate, but Australia has in the past confronted similar challenges head-on and found ways to maximize opportunities to build sustainable national and income growth for all.

This report sets out why and how Australia must push for the win–win scenario of inclusive growth by pursuing actions that both accelerate automation and adoption and share its benefits.

It’s a vision well worth focusing on. With foresight, proactive leadership from the government, business, and education sectors, and a commitment to act, Australia can capture the opportunity offered by automation, manage the transition, and ensure the gains are broadly shared.

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