Automation replacing certain jobs and tasks in the workplace is inevitable. We briefly discuss ways in which countries mitigate the impact. At the Jamaica 55 Diaspora 2017 Conference, held last month, Country Manager for global business process outsourcer, Sutherland Global Services, in Jamaica, Odetta Rockhead-Kerr, emphasised the need for the country “to invest more in its human capital in order to safeguard or sustain jobs in the Jamaica BPO sector as technology progresses” (Source: Nearshore Americas). Her position was driven by the fact that as the use of software robots in the workplace continues to increase, tasks traditionally executed by us, humans, are being, and will continue to be, automated. The growing trend towards automation (or robotics) and artificial intelligence (AI) is issue that we, began to examine last year (see our earlier article, Will software robots make humans obsolete in the workplace?). However, as automation continues to take hold globally, it is crucial that policymakers, along with public and private sector organisations, consider and make strategic decisions the better position the workforce for what is to come. In Jamaica, for example, the current government is placing considerable emphasis on the outsourcing services industry to solve the country’s high unemployment rate, which as of April 2017 stood at 12.3% (Source: Statistical Institute of Jamaica). As of earlier this year, the size of Jamaica’s business process outsourcing (BPO) industry was estimated at over 25,000 employees (Source: The Gleaner), but aggressive growth targets are being bandied about, ranging from achieving around 36,000 to
Watch Episode#5 of This Week in Caribbean Tech Live Broadcast, hosted weekly, every Thursday by Ingrid Riley on Facebook. In this Episode: Haiti Tech Summit, Ben Horowitz; Artificial Intelligence and BPO Jobs in Jamaica; The cost of Internet Service in the Caribbean; Ganjagram Startup; four Caribbean Tech events coming and a funny social media trend we spotted this week. Watch the broadcast every Thursday 1 p.m. EDT, 2 p.m. EST. live on SiliconCaribe's Facebook Page. We are all about covering and promoting our emerging #DigitalCaribbean. We clearly are headed in the right direction! I wanted to say thank you to everyone who watched Episode #4 of This Week in Caribbean Tech Live last week Thursday. We got lots of compliments on the great content and we are happily getting better and better each week. These countries had the largest live audience: Jamaica, Trinidad, Guyana. Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts, Antigua, USA and Canada. And while I am saying than you, I want to acknowledge our blog readers. These are the Top 10 Countries in our Fan and Readership-base. 1. Jamaica 2. Dominican Republic 3. Trinidad and Tobago 4. USA 5. Barbados 6. Suriname 7. Guyana 8. Martinique 9. UK 10. Canada OUtside of these 10 countries, we have blog readers from 45 countries around the world covering the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Latin America, African continent. It’s good to know that our readership and fanbase are largely millennials, representing 65% followed by GenXers at 20%. Thanks to every single one of you! All 30,000 of you monthly readers.
This week, most major publications reported the death of artificial intelligence (AI) pioneer, Marvin Minsky, who died on 24 January at the age of 88. In a nutshell – and without overwhelming us all – Minsky was instrumental in laying the foundation for analysing artificial neural networks and for a lot of the work that is still being done today in AI. For most of us, we see AI as futuristic – the fodder of the movies, where a frequent theme is the machines becoming smarter than humans and either seeking to enslave us, or threatening our continued existence. Further, we in the Caribbean, may believe that our citizens and societies are still quite removed from AI – with our ‘Third World’ and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) challenges. However, AI has permeated our societies, and is shaping not only the way we live, but how we do business. Below are just a few examples of areas that have benefited from AI technology, some of which touch our lives directly. Video games. Most video games have integrated some AI into their design in order to provide users with not only a highly developed and customisable experience, but also an adaptive and dynamic environment where the game itself responds, and to some degree, evolves to the gamers specifications and choices. Flying drones. Although much has been made over the last several months of Amazon.com’s use of drones, flying drones are commercially available and are already being used in the Caribbean. In the region they