Artificial intelligence can also endanger many jobs

Artificial intelligence can also endanger many jobs

Interview | Eduardo Ruiz Vegas, president of the official association of Social Graduates of Malaga and Melilla.

The General Council of Social Graduates celebrates its national assembly in Malaga this Friday, in which different professionals from the sector will reflect on issues that directly affect the union. What about family conciliation and teleworking? How can artificial intelligence be incorporated into everyday life? What happens to those citizens who cannot relate to the administration because of the digital divide?

Artificial intelligence can also endanger many jobs

Eduardo Ruiz Vegas, president of the official association of Social Graduates of Malaga and Melilla, speaks about these issues in conversation with EL ESPAÑOL of Malaga: “Workers are going to be afraid that their jobs will be automated and companies can do without them”, holds.

What does holding this assembly means for Malaga and the sector?

Malaga is currently in the spotlight, which is another added value to be able to contribute and highlight the role of the city at a national level as a reference. The fact that an assembly is held in the capital, with a subject as current and complex as labor, social security, and the evolution of human resources, is proof of how things are changing. Especially after the pandemic. All these aspects are very varied and are constantly in the media. As professionals, we have a lot of work due to the accumulation of regulations. I think that the fact that Malaga is focused on addressing these issues increases the relevance of the city and pushes it to have a greater weight.

Was the pandemic the cause of this change or was it a process that was already underway?

The change in the way of working has been fast and dizzying, affecting our relationship with the public administration, which has also undergone an important transformation. It is noticeable in the attention of the public by the professionals: practically everything has already gone telematics. Proof of this is that many regulatory reforms showed that the relationship between institutions and citizens was going to end up being incorporated into the telematic world. The Covid-19 crisis brought the components of obligation and a certain urgent need, increasing the pace. This change in speed has generated a lack of fit: not everyone is ready.

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The famous digital divide

It is showing tremendously. It has lengthened to the point that there is no going back. It is becoming wider and wider, suffering from it those who cannot join digitization and who therefore have less access to services. In the offices of social graduates, we are giving tremendous coverage to this topic. We have noticed an increase in the number of people who turn to our work because they consider it a window into public administration. As professionals, we try to manage these complex tasks, which are sometimes complex for ourselves as well.

There is a crisis of distancing between the two (administered and administration). Our natural position is that of a hinge, but since the pandemic, our role of mediation, union, and channeling.

We are talking about a sector that, according to the data they handle, manages 80% of SMEs and that also acts in 60% of labor judicial processes in Spain. In other words, it is capable of paralyzing the country if it chooses to mobilize to claim those demands.

Of course, what happens is that precisely those of us who dedicate ourselves to this very social sector are very responsible. We are very clear that we must provide a good service to the citizen in matters as vital as that a person can receive a benefit, that a family can enter the salary, the minimum income, the pension, maintain an adequate relationship with the company or that there is harmony inside the template. There are so many factors that this group never really considers any measure of pressure. Due to our responsibility, we know that this would cause damage, and we are not willing for anyone to have to suffer it.

This assembly confirms the need for the sector to rethink and refund its own activity to a certain extent. What are the specific challenges they face?

Some factors are decisive. The avalanche of regulations that occurred with Covid to solve so many problems that suddenly arose does not stop. It is so changeable, sometimes contradictory, that it creates an agglomeration of difficulty and complexity. To this, we must add the lack of resources from the administration, which has no possibility of reaching more face-to-face services. We are seeing staff complaining, such as the legal secretaries now lawyers of the Administration of Justice, who are currently on strike. There is not a sufficient increase in means.

We are a group that is perfectly accustomed to working telematically; Since 1996 we have been using the Social Security Network system. But that is one thing and another what I was saying before, that suddenly we had planted ourselves in a virtuality of almost 100%. This is a problem because many issues require dealings between people. We see that sometimes we cannot perform our function satisfactorily due to these impediments.

What do we order? Greater means of public administration so that they can work more calmly. That would imply a better relationship with the services and better personal attention. We would achieve more agility in the procedures; everything would be more efficient.

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Another topic that they will discuss is the relationship between teleworking and digital disconnection. How is it achieved?

The secret is precise and there is no secret. It is about seeking order in this new way of working. This evolution is not natural but very forced. We lack culture on this subject, especially in aspects such as performance outside the office. We cannot lose sight of the fact that production must be combined with family reconciliation and disconnection. All of this requires a fitting that takes time.

Before the pandemic, teleworking seemed like something exotic that raised doubts. Now, everyone already takes it for granted, but we cannot forget the objectives because they can end up turning into adversity. We have to understand it in the best possible way to transfer it to companies and workers. We have ahead of us an informative and almost pedagogical work in which we must be present.

Will the four-day workday be the next thing we see?

It is a question that also seems somewhat exotic. It remains to be seen, especially since we have not yet established the previous step (teleworking) and we already want to take one more, I would say almost false. First, we are going to see if we can work from home and, from there, see if we can do it with greater productivity. I think everyone would vote for a four-day week; I even think that if the company kept its objectives within the established parameters, there would be no problem.

From my experience, I see that we are going at a rather fast speed; we don’t have a matrix yet, a well-positioned step. When we want to give the next one, the previous ones are in danger because they have not settled.

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Another topic that they will discuss is artificial intelligence. What are the possibilities of incorporating it into your daily life?

It is gradually being incorporated. There are many platform systems that we use daily that use AI. It has to do with the automation of processes. These platforms are learning from our daily work to facilitate tasks. I think that in a few years, it will take a tremendous leap, and I hope that it will be positive because artificial intelligence can also endanger many jobs. Everything can be automated, but that requires an adaptation of the workers to the new panorama. That he not be displaced and doomed to unemployment because there is a procedure that has left him without a job.

The great challenge is how to combine the functions of a machine with people so that they can coexist because otherwise, this will be the end. Workers are going to be afraid that their jobs will be automated and companies will be able to do without them. I think that is a great challenge. This focus on programming makes it go at a speed that is not by the coexistence to which I was referring. Are we preparing to coexist with artificial intelligence? Not equal. If it is still difficult for us to master mobile because it dominates us.

The dilemma of companies refocus efforts towards new techniques that make work easier.

That must also be another great challenge. To what extent are labor relations going to be dehumanized by this issue?

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