Enhanced Humans, Robotics and the Future of Work



Technological innovations in networked, automated, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic devices are unleashing a transformation in work and employment as far-reaching as the industrial revolution. Automation in the workforce is not new, but technological developments (especially breakthroughs in robotics) now threaten entire professions. This research will investigate the social consequences of robotics and AI, exploring the digital capability of Australia and the skills needed to prepare the future workforce to compete in a global economy increasingly shaped by technological automation.

Under the award of an Australian Research Council Discovery Grant (2016-2020), Professor Elliott (along with colleagues from the ANU and Wollongong University) will explore the sociological impacts of the current seismic shifts in automation, robotics and AI and how demand is created for digital skills around mobility and mobile technology. Some of the topics that will be focused on in this research will include: what future workplaces will look like; how capital-intensive and labor-saving dimensions of robotics and AI transform work/life balance and underpin emergent mobile forms of employment; and how forms of physical mobility (such as travel and transport for employment) and digital mobility (such as e-work, e-commerce and e-services) are being developed within companies and organisations in response to the demands of technological change.