In terms of jobs, automation, widening regional disparities

In his new essay, the famous historian Yuval Noah Harari is spoken of as the next great challenge of our societies. Artificial intelligence and big data have already started to disrupt our industries and our jobs, and in proportions without common measurement with the previous industrial revolutions.

Today, 71 % of the hours of work are performed by humans, compared with 29 % of machines, according to a study published Monday 17 September by the world economic Forum, the foundation organizes the Davos Forum in Switzerland. But the weight of the machinery is expected to climb to 42 % in 2022.

First line : the low-skilled jobs (drivers, pickers, food, machine operators, etc.); 75 million jobs would have to be destroyed by four years, say the authors. Then reassure : 133 million new jobs will also be created thanks to this new division of labour between men, machines and algorithms, according to the theory of creative destruction, the economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950).

The south and east of Europe most exposed

If the studies are more or less alarmist on the topic abound, few have yet looked in depth on its regional dimension. This is what comes to the Organization of economic cooperation and development (OECD), in a report released on Wednesday 19 September.

In all OECD countries, 14 % of all jobs could be automated, while 32 % are likely to be deeply modified. Not surprisingly, the most exposed countries are in southern Europe and the east, while northern Europe is more protected. The detail by region is more enlightening still, and dizzying : the proportion of threatened jobs climbs to 40 % in western Slovakia, while it is only 4%, around Oslo, the Norwegian capital.

Inside the borders, it is in Spain that the differences are the most…

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