A senior Bank of Canada official says while the country’s poised to reap economic benefits from technological progress – it must also brace for potentially painful side effects like job losses and greater income inequality.

In a speech in Toronto, senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said Tuesday innovations like artificial intelligence and robotics are expected to help re-energize underwhelming productivity in advanced economies like Canada. Over the longer haul, she added that new technologies should eventually create more jobs than they replace.

However, the fast-approaching changes come with concerns for Wilkins – from the challenging adjustment for the labour force, to the distribution of the new wealth.

She noted how experts predict changes like automation to have downsides, which could include impacts on close to half of all jobs in some industrialized countries within 20 years.

Policy-makers, she added, must get ready to manage negatives like amplified income inequality brought on by conditions that could help workers whose skills are complemented by innovations and those whose tasks are replaced by machines.

Her speech to the Toronto Region Board of Trade comes as governments grapple with the challenge of providing support to these emerging fields, while also easing the fears of workers who could lose their jobs.

For Canada to get the most from these changes, Wilkins argued it must address these concerns.

“Canada should embrace new technologies and their benefits while at the same time proactively managing their more-harmful side effects,” Wilkins said.

“Blaming the machines is not the way forward.”

Wilkins laid out potential approaches to ease the shifts that will likely accompany what she called “a new industrial revolution.” She said policy-makers will have to have to put more emphasis on education and skills training to help many workers and businesses adjust to what could be a difficult transition.

View the rest of the article at Globe and Mail.