16/11/2017 |

Digitalization will reduce a third of officials in six years

Robot officer

The introduction of digital technologies in the sphere of state administration will help reduce the number of officials in Russia by one third in six years, the head of the Center for Strategic Research Alexei Kudrin believes. If his forecast is realized, then the work will lose 700 thousand people. In addition to officials, robots can squeeze tax officials, economists, lawyers. The robots can not be stopped, experts agree, but the country will have to face a wave of unemployment.

Digitalization is now working to accelerate the development of all sectors of the economy, said Alexey Kudrin on November 10, speaking at the Calvert forum Siberia 2017.

Ex-Minister of Finance stressed that over the past 10 years, the growth rate was less than 1%, the share of Russia’s economy in the world was decreasing. “The main challenge to reverse this trend is whether Russia will remain a technological power,” he said (quoted by TASS).

“Today, we have one out of 150 enterprises exported. We need to increase the number of enterprises that are exported within 7-6 years. For example, now Russia in the field of programming exports about $ 4 billion, we need at least double it in the next 5-6 years, “Kudrin added.

In his opinion, digital technologies can be implemented in any company and institution. “This includes creating information flows about our production that increase labor productivity many times,” Kudrin said.

Russia’s development strategy until 2024, which Alexei Kudrin presented to President Vladimir Putin this year, also speaks of a “technological revolution” and an increase in non-primary exports. In the presentation of the Strategy of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), the technological backwardness of Russia from developed countries is a threat to number one.

The lag of the country in technology Alexei Kudrin suggests measuring the number of “multifunctional robots per 10 thousand population.” In Russia there are only two robots for every 10 thousand. In South Korea – 446. In China – 36, in the USA – 136. The economies of Germany and Japan are even more robotic.

The technological backlog is proposed to be overcome with the help of the “Russian technological revolution”. One of the elements of this revolution is the formation of large strategic consortia (investment-technology partnerships) and their support through special investment contracts and subsidies.

The CSR believes that 10-20 such consortia should be formed, including with the participation of leading foreign companies. Their main task is “implementation of technological breakthrough programs”.

It is also proposed to introduce a system of “investment contracts for the promotion of Russian companies in the STI market – unmanned aerial vehicles, marine intelligent systems, unmanned vehicles, man-machine communications”.

The result of these and other measures should be an increase in the share of machinery and equipment in exports from 8.3% in 2016 to 13% in 2024, as well as Russia’s entry into the list of the top 10 countries in the number of international patents and applications issued.

There is also a task to reform the system of state administration. On Friday, Kudrin reiterated this. He suggested that in six years it’s possible to reduce the number of officials by one third.

“Digitalization and the transition to other management models, the prevention of any violations significantly reduce the need for officials, and decisions will be made automatically,” the head of the CSR said.

According to the Federal State Statistics Service, in 2016 in Russia and government agencies, local governments and election commissions of municipalities employed 2.146 million people. Including in federal authorities – 1,410 million.

From 2000 to 2015, the number of employees of state authorities and municipalities per thousand employed in the economy has increased almost twofold – from 18 to 31.8 people.

Reduction of officials by a third in six means that about 700 thousand people will remain without work.

Kudrin also recalled that according to the available expert predictions, in 10 years a third of professions will die out, but it will take 1 million new programmers.

“Some of the economists and lawyers will leave, for which the robots will start working. I dream that the tax service does not enter the enterprises, but simply conducts an audit in the data exchange mode, “he said, adding that the automated system could warn enterprises about errors and thus avoid on-site inspections and the number of court decisions.

It would be very good to replace the customs officials with robots in order to reduce corruption, adds the Deputy Director of the Institute of Development Center of the Higher School of Economics HSE Valery Mironov. It is in this area that digital technology could help to make a breakthrough.

In October, German Gref, at the Open Innovations forum in Skolkovo, said that in just 3-5 years the “bots” would take over the functions of personal financial advisers responsible for typical questions of the bank’s clients in the bank.

According to Gref, already now 99% of credit decisions on individuals are automatically accepted. Deputy Chairman of the Board of Sberbank Vadim Kulik told that the credit organization in 2016 launched a robot lawyer, which will replace 3 thousand jobs in 2017.

“Literally in the fourth quarter we launched a robot-lawyer, who can write us a paper from papers – one example of working robots. In fact, at the current moment this means that practically all claims that we write on individuals will completely pass to these robots during this half-year, “he said.

This year, Bank of America has opened several fully automated offices in which customers can use ATMs, order a credit card, issue a mortgage or a car loan. If customers need help, then it will be provided by the bank’s employees by video link.

Robotization and automation is a process that is growing in all branches of the economy and professions, both qualified and not requiring special education.

The report of the Mitsubishi Research Institute noted that only in Japan by 2030, robots will displace 2.4 million people from the labor market. According to experts, jobs will be closed in industry, services and sales.

Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Information Policy, Information Technologies and Communications Leonid Levin said in September during an expanded meeting of the Council on Legislative Support for the Development of the Digital Economy that it was very important for our country to force out the workforce with artificial intelligence.

“This applies to the banking, accounting, legal services, industry and much more. Thus, in the near future we can face increasing unemployment. For example, in Russia alone, there are more than 1.5 million security guards. Sooner or later they will be replaced by an automated system, and 2% of the able-bodied population of the country will spill onto the market. That is why it is necessary to think about how to employ, those who lose their jobs due to the development of digital technologies right now, “he said.

If we translate these 2%, we will get about 1.5 million new unemployed, not counting the potential reduction in the number of officials, of which Kudrin spoke. The total offensive of robots can lead to an increase in unemployment from the current 5.5% to 8.4%. And this figure does not take into account the potential for the release of workers in the modernization of industrial production and other spheres. To solve this problem, Russia needs intensive economic growth.

Author: Petr Oreshin

Article in Russian: Gazeta.ru

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