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This report addresses the nature, scope and possible effects of digital automation. It reviews relevant literature and situates modern debates on technological change in historical context. It also offers some policy options that, if implemented, would help to harness technology for positive economic and social ends.

The report recognises that technological change can affect not just the volume of work but also its quality. It identifies threats to job quality and an unequal distribution of the risks and benefits associated with digital automation. In response, it recommends a number of policy options – ones that aim to go beyond the provision of skills and training and which seek a human-centred approach to digital transformations of work based on industrial democracy and social partnership.

Overall, the report pushes for a new Digital Social Contract and a future of work that works for all

© This study has been written by David Spencer, Matt Cole, Simon Joyce, Xanthe Whittaker and Mark Stuart of the Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, UK, at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Skills intelligence publication details

Target audience
Digital skills for ICT professionals and other digital experts.
Digital skills for all
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Field unknown
Geographical sphere
EU institutional initiative
Publication type