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Project Untangled

    Third UNTANGLED Open Virtual Café

    The third edition of the UNTANGLED Open Virtual Expert Café was held on 22 June, bringing together 22 participants from academia, research institutes and social partners. Each presentation of research results or ongoing work and projects was followed by a lively discussion.


    The June meet-up hosted eight presentations:

    Bagryan Malamin of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences presented a recently published paper, “Are Translators Afraid of Artificial Intelligence?”, written jointly with Vassil Kirov. The authors performed their own empirical survey of Bulgarian translators’ attitude towards AI, and the results suggest that most perceive artificial intelligence and automation as threats to their profession. However, the authors argue, AI and digital technologies will instead relieve human translators of the routine part of the job, so the quality of work in the profession most probably will not deteriorate in the near future because of digitalisation. The results could serve as the basis for further research on the impact of digitalisation on other creative professions.

    Giorgio Brunello of the University of Padua and Patricia Wruuck (European Investment Bank) presented the results of research in progress (a draft paper) that they’re conducting jointly with Desiree Rückert and Christoph Weiss of the European Investment Bank. The authors are analysing firm-level data and have found that as employers invest in advanced digital technologies (ADT), spending on training decreases. Possible reasons could be that (i) ADT modifies the tasks associated with labour, such that less training is required; (ii) hiring new skills directly from the market is more attractive to firms than investing in re-skilling; (iii) ADT reduces the unit costs of training.

    Christoph Weiss & Désirée Rückert of the European Investment Bank presented the policy implications of a report recently published by the EIB on the adoption of digital technologies, including the finding that a substantial share of EU SMEs did not invest in digitalisation compared to US firms. In addition, a second report, recently published by the EIB and EPO, found that EU SMEs seem to lag behind their US counterparts in deep tech innovation.

    Fabrizio Pompei of the University of Perugia presented tentative results of a qualitative case study on Machinery Manufacturing and Food Industry in Italy (joint work with Chiara Acciarini of the University of Rome 1). The case study is part of research performed within the UNTANGLED project and combines quantitative data with assessments by representatives of employers’ associations, unions, managers and ministry officials. In line with existing empirical evidence from other EU countries, the case study supports the finding that robots and the implementation of other technologies so far have not been harmful for employment levels.

    Roberta Capello of the Politecnico di Milano presented evidence from a freshly published paper (co-authored with Camilla Lenzi and Elisa Panzera) on the diffusion of three value creation models of the digital service economy i.e.: the product-service economy, sharing economy and online service economy across European regions, and how the prevalence of different models affects regional wage inequalities.

    Arthur Apostel of HIVA-KU Leuven presented the LAMARTRA project, which aims to assess the impact of the transition to a low-carbon economy on the Belgian labour market; he also discussed some of the ongoing methodological challenges of identifying “green” skills and “green” jobs.

    Mikkel Barslund of HIVA-KU Leuven talked about ongoing work dealing with the measurement of digital skills in labour force surveys, and presented a methodological multi-step approach to the issue.

    Zaakhir Asmal of the University of Cape Town (Development Policy Research Unit, DPRU) presented a call for papers for the 6th IZA/World Bank/NJD/UNU-WIDER Jobs and Development Conference, to be held in Cape Town in December 2022.

    The slides from the meeting can be found here

    The virtual café format allows for the exchange of ideas and informal discussion of hypotheses, ideas, developing and ongoing projects with other experts from the fields of globalisation, digitalisation, demographic change, work and employment.

    The next Open Virtual Expert Café will take place on 31 August 2022, from 4-5.30 pm CEST. Register here to present your work (one slide, 5 minute time-slot), or to just listen in and join the discussion.


    2021 © UNTANGLED. All rights reserved.
    This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004776

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