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Talking about the future of work in the West Australian

Updated: Oct 1, 2018

News item from the West Australian


A $20 million research institute being established at Curtin University will investigate what the jobs of the future will look like and how Australia’s businesses and workforce will meet the challenges posed by technological and social changes.

The Future of Work Institute will be based in the CBD and its director, Mark Griffin, said digital disruption, automation and the rise of artificial intelligence were just some of the factors changing traditional industries.

“Understanding the trends, influences and consequences of these changes is critical to Australia’s economic and social future,” Professor Griffin said. However, he is quick to say automation, as we’ve seen in the WA mining industry, doesn’t mean we’re all going to be out of a job soon. “It’s not necessarily true. It hasn’t happened in the past and we’re not expecting that to happen,” Professor Griffin said.

“Instead of decisions being made in a truck on a mine site, they are made in a control room — people end up somewhere.” As for AI, he said it is already influencing our lives in subtle ways, such as interacting with a chatbot on a commercial website. “We won’t suddenly see a robot driving a school bus,” Professor Griffin said.

“Most of the things won’t be so obvious.” He said the goal was to create an “outward-facing” organisation that would advise State and Federal governments, large and small businesses and even the general public. “Our strongest message is we’re in the constant period of transition and it’s always a danger to become complacent and say the transition is over or the boom will last for ever,” Professor Griffin said.

“We need to be embracing that and being energetic and positive about being a part of those things.”


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