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Welcome to the Official Schedule for RightsCon Toronto 2018. This year’s program, built by our global community, is our most ambitious one yet. Within the program, you will find 18 thematic tracks to help you navigate our 450+ sessions

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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

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Thursday, May 17 • 12:00 - 13:15
Robots and Rights: Exploring the Impacts of Automation on the Future of Work

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In recent years, the “future of work” has been a topic of heated debate and speculation. Experts predict that we are approaching a point in history at which the majority of jobs can be automated. The rapid advance of robotics and artificial intelligence inexorably shapes corporate incentives to mechanize operations, raising pressing and difficult questions—for business and society alike—regarding jobs, workers, and wages.

This emerging business paradigm supposes a radical shift in the global economy, with potentially devastating economic and social impacts on the most vulnerable populations. A recent study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development suggests that better and cheaper robots will shift the demand for low-skilled labor from developing to developed countries—leaving large amounts of low-skilled workers in global supply chains unemployed. At the same time, however, automation of low-skilled jobs promises powerful benefits for human rights, from better workplace safety to the lower risk of modern slavery, child labor, and other human rights abuses.

Governments and the private sector have yet to adequately grapple with this dilemma. The inevitability of technological advance, the complex interplay of costs and benefits for society at large, and the rising tide of economic nationalism will require intelligent and well thought-through policy responses. This session seeks to bring together leaders from public and private sectors, labor, and civil society to discuss the array of challenges robots pose to workers from a human rights perspective. With a panel representing diverse perspectives, we will aim to curate a discussion that explores the many layers and dimensions of the challenge facing governments, business, and civil society. The goal will not be to arrive at definitive solutions but to frame issues and define avenues for future research, engagement, and activism.

avatar for Yousuf Aftab

Yousuf Aftab

Yousuf is the founder and principal of Enodo Rights. He has extensive experience advising leading multinationals across sectors on strategic implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to navigate corporate responsibility risks, including legal, political... Read More →

avatar for Sunil Johal

Sunil Johal

Policy Director, Mowat Centre, School of Public Policy & Governance, University of Toronto
Sunil Johal is Policy Director at the Mowat Centre, an independent public policy think tank at the University of Toronto. He leads the Centre’s research activities, manages the research team and teaches a variety of executive education courses. He is frequently invited to advise... Read More →
avatar for Sarah McGrath

Sarah McGrath

Legal & Policy Director, International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)
Sarah McGrath is the Legal and Policy Director at the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), an organization harnessing the collective power of progressive organizations to push governments to create and enforce rules over corporations that promote human rights... Read More →
avatar for Vinícius Pinheiro

Vinícius Pinheiro

Director Regional para América Latina y el Caribe, OIT
El Director Regional de la OIT para América Latina y el Caribe es brasileño, y ocupó antes el cargo de Representante Especial de la OIT ante las Naciones Unidas y Director de la Oficina de la OIT para las Naciones Unidas en Nueva York, donde fue responsable de promover los temas... Read More →
avatar for Kelly Ross

Kelly Ross

Deputy Policy Director, AFL-CIO
Kelly Ross has been Deputy Policy Director of the AFL-CIO since 2010, and has been with the AFL-CIO since 2002.  He has also been a member of the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Governing Body and Committee on Freedom of Association since February 2015.  He is currently... Read More →
avatar for Amit Singh

Amit Singh

Global Lead, Uber
Amit Singh is Uber’s Head of Public Policy (Future of Work). He previously served as the Senior Economic Adviser to Australian Prime Ministers Rudd and Gillard. Earlier in his career, he worked as a capital markets lawyer and a corporate M&A adviser, as well as co-founder of a consumer... Read More →

Thursday May 17, 2018 12:00 - 13:15 EDT