Technology as enabler of the automation of work? Current societal challenges for a future perspective of work / A tecnologia como facilitadora da automação do trabalho? Desafios sociais atuais para uma visão do futuro do trabalho




Due to the innovative possibilities of digital technologies, the issue of increasing automation is once again on the agenda – and not only in the industry, but also in other branches and sectors of contemporary societies. Although public and scientific discussions about automation seem to raise relevant questions of the “old” debate, such as the replacement of human labor by introducing new technologies, the authors focus here on the new contextual quality of these questions. The debate should rethink the relationship between technology and work with regard to quantitative and qualitative changes in work. In this article, our example will be the introduction of automation in industry, which has been reflected in the widely recognized study by Frey and Osborne in 2013. They estimated the expected impacts of future computerization on US labor market outcomes as very high, specifically regarding the number of jobs at risk. Surprisingly, this study was the starting point of an intensive international debate on the impact of technologies on the future of work and the role of technological change in working environments. Thus, according to the authors, “old” questions remain important, but they should be reinterpreted for “new” societal demands and expectations of future models of work.

Keywords: automation, technical unemployment, transformation of work, new models of work


Em virtude das possibilidades de inovação colocadas pelas tecnologias digitais, vem crescendo o debate sobre o aumento da automação – não apenas na indústria, mas também em outros ramos e setores das sociedades contemporâneas. Embora os debates público e científico sobre automação pareçam focar questões relevantes do “antigo” debate, como a substituição do trabalho humano pela introdução de novas tecnologias, os autores concentram-se, aqui, no novo aspecto contextual dessas questões. O debate precisa repensar a relação entre tecnologia e trabalho no que concerne às mudanças quantitativas e qualitativas no trabalho. Neste artigo, nosso exemplo será a introdução da automação na indústria, que se refletiu no estudo amplamente reconhecido de Frey e Osborne, de 2013. Eles estimaram impactos profundos da futura informatização sobre os desfechos do mercado de trabalho dos EUA, particularmente em relação ao número de empregos em risco. Surpreendentemente, este estudo foi o ponto de partida para um intenso debate internacional sobre o impacto das tecnologias no futuro do trabalho e o papel da mudança tecnológica nos ambientes de trabalho. Assim, de acordo com os autores, embora as “velhas” questões permaneçam importantes, elas devem ser reinterpretadas considerando as “novas” demandas sociais e expectativas de modelos futuros de trabalho.

Palavras-chave: automação, desemprego técnico, transformação do trabalho, novos modelos de trabalho.

Biografia do Autor

Bettina-Johanna Krings, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Doctor in Sociology, Head of research area at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis) Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

António B. Moniz, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, CICS.NOVA

Doctor in Sociology, Associate Professor of Industrial Sociology in Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia at Universidade Nova de Lisboa, CICS.NOVA - Interdisciplinary Centre of Social Sciences, Lisboa, Portugal

Philipp Frey, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie

Doctoral researcher at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie. Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.


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