Will AI kill career development?

Ian Goldin asks if robotisation will prevent poorer countries taking the traditional route to prosperity.

If you’re wondering about the future of work, your career prospects, advancements in AI and machine learning, although this fascinating 51 minutes from Oxford University’s Ian Goldin and BBC World Service is focused chiefly on Africa, the topics and issues he raises affects us all – right now.

It could well also be titled: ‘Will AI kill career development?’.

This article is an extract authored in response to current studies undertaken by the author at RMIT, Melbourne Australia in Masters of Information Management. The topic considered for discussion revolved around ‘Searching Skills Development – Users and Discovery’.

Published: LinkedIn – 8 April 2019

A woman crosses the railway track in Kibera, Nairobi’s giant shanty town | SOURCE: Will AI kill development? ‘The Documentary’​, BBC World Service

The explosion of information is already at hand, affecting people globally on a national and international level.

Goldin’s is just one of many recent , credible reports confirming swift advancements in AI technology are already happening[2].

Having also reviewed and digested the arguments and future projections around the globotics upheaval[3] and surveillance capitalism[4] by Richard Baldwin and Shoshana Zuboff respectively, this author concludes that many open questions for this topic and this sector are yet to be posed and considered, let alone answered with considered evidence.

‘Searching Skills Development – Users and Discovery’ is a topic that demands far greater attention than can be adequately covered in a brief of this size. With digital disruption yet to truly impact professionals within the Information management sector, this report recommends further professional development around the discussion of this topic.

Information savvy does not equate to information literacy.

Likewise, the click of a search engine does not equal improved search skills that translate into best search results. In concert with Baker’s contribution to the bigger picture, Lorcan’s pragmatic approach ensures debate can continue beyond this report in considered and studied context at a professional level.

Rapid changes on a political and cultural level abound – for example, did Brexit voters properly consider the true nature of the change they demanded? Was their information literacy at a high enough level to really think through the consequences?

If we truly answer to the User – or in fact any client/stakeholder in any sector – , then ‘Searching Skills Development – Users and Discovery’ has to be greater than mere budget-driven, online surveys around how Discovery is researched and implemented to the tools patrons use. The report concludes by asking the information sector a similar question. With technology disruption and machine learning lapping at its door, which professionals will be best placed to fulfil their central mission to search and discovery needs of ‘the User’.

Will AI kill development? | ABOUT

Ian Goldin asks if robotisation will prevent poorer countries taking the traditional route to prosperity.

Since World War Two, nation after nation has more or less followed the same growth path. As the workforce has moved away from farming, they have created low-skilled industrial jobs, utilising their advantage of cheap labour. Gradually they have moved up the value chain, producing more and more sophisticated goods, before moving towards a service economy. It’s a journey followed by Japan, Korea, China, Malaysia, Vietnam and others. But now there’s a new kid on the block: artificial intelligence. The dramatic progress in the field means that robots now can replace even a low-paid factory workforce. They are often both cheaper and more reliable. That means some richer countries are even now “on-shoring” – bringing manufacturing work back from overseas to produce goods in robotised factories closer to home.

So what does that mean for countries still struggling near the bottom of the development ladder? Have the crucial decades of opportunity now gone for good?

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Professor Ian Goldin of the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford is one of the world’s most respected development economists.

He investigates on the ground in Kenya and hears evidence from across the world. And he asks if poorer countries can even find opportunities in the new global AI economy.


Professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, where he has been researching globalization and trade for the past 30 years.[2] .[3][4][5] He is also ex-President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and Editor-in-Chief of VoxEU,[6] which he founded in June 2007.[7][8] He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was twice elected as a Member of the Council of the European Economic Association.


[2] Goldin, I., 2019 ‘Will AI kill development?’, The Documentary – BBC World Service, available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w3csz427.  Broadcast ABC Radio News (Australia), 1026am 04:06am Australian Eastern Standard time Sunday 7 April 2019


[1] Dempsey , Lorcan, 2016, ‘The facilitated collection’, Lorcan Dempsey’s Weblog, 31 January, available at: http://orweblog.oclc.org/towards-the-facilitated-collection/

[3] Baldwin, R., The Globotics Upheaval – Globalisation, Robotics and The Future of Work, London: The Orion Publishing Group Ltd, 2019

[4] Zuboff, S., The Age of Surveillance Capitalism – The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, London: Profile Books Ltd, 2019


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about | Master of Information Management, RMIT

Currently a fulltime carer for his parents, Sean McIntyre commenced RMIT’s Master of Information Management fulltime in March 2019.

Content extract published is conclusion only. Contact author for full article.


NOTE: website links and content evolving under development for digital project per current studies.

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