VOICES FROM THE ARAB PRESS: WILL OUR JOBS DISAPPEAR IN THE FUTURE?

We must adapt to this changing nature of the world and invest resources in preparing our children for the day and age of robotics.

By MEDIA LINE
September 12, 2019 10:43
VOICES FROM THE ARAB PRESS: WILL OUR JOBS DISAPPEAR IN THE FUTURE?

A GENERAL VIEW of Beirut’s central district. Lebanon is suffering from a $90-billion debt squeeze in addition to underdeveloped services in various sectors.. (photo credit: MOHAMED AZAKIR / REUTERS)

WILL OUR JOBS DISAPPEAR IN THE FUTURE?
Al-Masry al-Youm, Egypt
, September 6

Serious scientific studies confirm that many of our jobs will disappear in the future as the robotics industry matures. But the important question remains: Can there be alternatives for the millions of humans who will be replaced by robots and machines? The answer was discussed in a study titled “Future Jobs 2040,” published by the Future Foresight House in Abu Dhabi.
Interestingly enough, the study found that technology will create more jobs than it eliminates. While many current jobs will fade out, technology will directly contribute to the creation of new ones. Similarly, according to several McKinsey reports, one-third of new jobs created in the United States over the past 25 years did not exist in the past, including in areas such as IT development, hardware manufacturing, application creation and IT systems management. Therefore, the claim that robots will dominate the future is pure illusion. We cannot imagine a world in which technology dominates everything and the need for mankind is eliminated.
Scientific studies now attempt to predict the most important jobs that our children and grandchildren will have in 2040, and what these jobs will look like. For example, one study states that in 2040, a teacher will be able to leave a student alone in the classroom because robots will be used as an effective means of teaching, especially for those skills related to modern technology. Robots may also reach senior management positions, drive cars, fly aircraft and take the place of farmers and industry workers.
We must adapt to this changing nature of the world and invest resources in preparing our children for the day and age of robotics. Yes, we must not overlook the fact that man is always the engine of all technological developments. But we also have a duty to understand and manage these emerging technologies. We must conduct a good assessment of our readiness for the future and unleash our creative imagination to determine our goals. I know that the issue is difficult and arduous, and therefore call on all academic research centers in Egypt to discuss this issue seriously.
I urge our government to understand the importance of this idea because we are heading toward a future where there is no room to waste time. We must be ready to live and compete in a world where humans and machines work side by side. –Abd al-Latif al-Manawi

ISRAEL AFTER THE ELECTION: WHAT MIGHT CHANGE?
Al-Etihad, UAE, September 5

The upcoming Knesset election, which will be held on September 17, raises many questions about Israel’s future, chief among them the likelihood of [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu being reelected. It is expected that these elections will be the most complex in the history of Israel after Netanyahu won a plurality of votes with his Likud party in April but failed to form a government.
Things will certainly not be easier this time around. This prediction is based on indications that there is little difference in the balance of power from the last campaign. Opinion polls show that the Zionist right-wing camp, which has been in power for nearly two decades, continues to outperform the liberal camp. Interestingly, one of the most intriguing figures in these elections is Avigdor Liberman, leader of the Yisrael Beytenu Party. Although Liberman supported Netanyahu following the latter’s victory in April, the dispute between the two intensified during coalition negotiations, culminating in Liberman’s refusal to join a Netanyahu government.
This discord has grown even stronger during the new election campaign, which focuses on Liberman’s preference for excluding the two main religious parties, United Torah Judaism and Shas, from the next government – against Netanyahu’s will. If the results of the polls are true, it is not unlikely that there will be a change in the Israeli political map.
According to the prevailing trend in polls, it is expected that Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc as a whole will get the same number of seats it won in the April elections (65) or even slightly more. This number is enough to form a government and secure the confidence of the Knesset. But things might change at the last minute. Surveys show that Yisrael Beytenu will increase its power and could reach nine or 10 seats, most likely at the expense of other right-wing parties.
In this case, three possibilities can be envisaged, two of which involve a significant change in the political map. The first is the Likud’s transition to the opposition for the first time since 2001, with the formation of a government through an understanding between the new center-right Blue and White list, Yisrael Beytenu and other parties. A coalition led by Benny Gantz, the head of Blue and White, could then be opened to rotation with Liberman.
The second possibility is the formation of a unity government, which Liberman has spoken about more than once. The viability of this option is unclear given the difficulty of even imagining the participation of the Zionist left-wing parties. It’s also hard to imagine the Likud joining the coalition if Liberman sticks to his refusal to accept Netanyahu as prime minister.
The complexity of the situation leads us to a third possibility that will maintain the current balance of power: Likud leaders turn against Netanyahu and agree with Liberman to name one of them to form the next government. Although Netanyahu is aware of this possibility, a coup against him is not totally unlikely since Likud figureheads are quietly beginning to admit that their party’s role is more important than Netanyahu’s political survival. In any case, Israel appears to be at a pivotal moment that might lead to a major change in its political map and the composition of its next government. As always, the Palestinian people as well as the Arab world will have to deal with whatever happens as observers from the sidelines.
Waheed Abd al-Majid

THEATRICAL CONFLICT BETWEEN HEZBOLLAH AND ISRAEL
Al-Jazirah, Saudi Arabia, September 7

Lebanon is a small country whose economy depends almost entirely on two factors. The first is tourism, the second is the investment of foreign capital. Unfortunately, Lebanon is suffering from a $90-billion debt squeeze in addition to underdeveloped services in various sectors.
The question that must be asked in this context is the following: Is [Hezbollah General-Secretary] Hassan Nasrallah aware of this? When Nasrallah openly threatened Israel with war, was he aware of the implications for the Lebanese economy? Did he consider the implications of turning Lebanon, at the expense of the Lebanese people and their livelihoods, into a protective shield for the Iranian mullahs?
In my opinion, Lebanon’s current situation is unprecedented. Never in the course of history has it reached such a level of humiliation in which its citizens and politicians are subjected to the whims and dictates of a foreign power. Nasrallah has become the true ruler of Lebanon, taking orders from Tehran while the rest of Lebanon’s politicians are mere puppets.
In any case, the real conflict is not between Lebanon and Israel but between Iran and Israel. Iran has made the wiping of Israel off the map its ultimate goal. Iran now knows that it will not be able to remain besieged forever and that it will be forced to come to the negotiating table with the United States. Thus, what Tehran is doing with the help of Nasrallah is being done in order to improve its negotiating power vis-a-vis the United States, especially if [President Donald] Trump wins a second term in the next US presidential election.
In other words, Hezbollah’s decisions are actually made by Qassem Soleimani, not Hassan Nasrallah. It is simply unfathomable that in an effort to improve its ability to negotiate, Iran is sending the entire region into war. If the American plan to tame Iran succeeds, Hezbollah will follow Tehran’s footsteps and become nothing more than a lame duck floating in a pool of bilge water. This will be the ultimate vindication for the people of Lebanon. –Muhammad Al-Sheikh

SUDAN: CAUTIOUS OPTIMISM SURROUNDING THE POLITICAL TRANSITION
Al-Arab, London, September 7

The process of transition in Sudan began with an announcement of the formation of the new government after nine months of painstaking negotiations that began last December. Despite the horror of the June 3 confrontations that took place in front of the military headquarters [in Khartoum], and despite the difficulty of building trust between the army and civilians, the parties of the Sudanese national dialogue managed to reach an agreement about a transition process that will last 39 months.
This is an achievement in itself and a remarkable milestone in the history of the country. However, the magnitude of the challenges facing the transition team in preparation for civilian rule requires careful follow-up to ensure that the young men and women of Sudan do not return to the streets. “We are launching a new phase in the history of our country,” Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok declared when he announced his new government on September 5. Hamdok’s task is now to maintain the fragile peace agreement and begin rebuilding Sudan’s crippled economy. However, the most important thing undoubtedly remains the integrity of the institutions that have been set up temporarily, as well as meeting the milestones agreed upon by the military leaders and the leaders of the opposition.
Since last April, relations between the two sides have ranged from skepticism to insistence on failure. It was not easy to reach common ground, but Ethiopia and the African Union played a pivotal role in bringing the sides closer and concluding a deal. Thus, there are many difficulties that the opposition forces will encounter. Learning from their mistakes in the past, they have called for a long transition process that will allow them to rid Sudan of the influence of the former regime and offset the influence of the military leadership.
There is reason for cautious optimism in Sudan following months of violence and bloodshed. With improved political stability and economic reforms, Sudan can easily attract foreign investments that would help it grow its economy and offer a better future for its younger generations. If this effort succeeds, it will be truly remarkable. It will prove to us all that, truly, nothing is impossible under the sun.
Khattar Abou Diab

Translated by Asaf Zilberfarb.

The Media Line


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