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机器人来了,但瑞典人一点也不怕

更新时间:2017-12-28 19:42:30 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Robots Are Coming,and Sweden Is Fine
机器人来了,但瑞典人一点也不怕

GARPENBERG, Sweden — From inside the control room carved into the rock more than half a mile underground, Mika Persson can see the robots on the march, supposedly coming for his job here at the New Boliden mine.

瑞典加尔彭贝里——从离地面逾半英里(约合800米)的岩石中凿出来的控制室里,米卡·佩尔松(Mika Persson)能看到机器人正在行进。它们据说是来取代他在新博利登矿(New Boliden)的工作。

He’s fine with it.

他对此没有意见。

Sweden’s famously generous social welfare system makes this a place not prone to fretting about automation — or much else, for that matter.

瑞典的社会福利制度出了名的慷慨,这使得这里的人不大因为自动化而发愁。其他很多东西也一样。

Mr. Persson, 35, sits in front of four computer screens, one displaying the loader he steers as it lifts freshly blasted rock containing silver, zinc and lead. If he were down in the mine shaft operating the loader manually, he would be inhaling dust and exhaust fumes. Instead, he reclines in an office chair while using a joystick to control the machine.

35岁的佩尔松坐在四个电脑屏幕前。其中一个显示的是他操作的那台装载机举起刚被炸开的含银、锌和铅的岩石的画面。如果下到矿井里手工操作装载机,他会吸入灰尘和废气。但现在,他靠在办公椅上,用操纵杆控制着机器。

He is cognizant that robots are evolving by the day. Boliden is testing self-driving vehicles to replace truck drivers. But Mr. Persson assumes people will always be needed to keep the machines running. He has faith in the Swedish economic model and its protections against the torment of joblessness.

他知道,机器人每天都在进化。博利登正在测试取代卡车司机的自动驾驶汽车。但佩尔松认为,总得有人保持机器运转。他对瑞典的经济模式和它让劳动者免受失业之苦的保护措施有信心。

“I’m not really worried,” he says. “There are so many jobs in this mine that even if this job disappears, they will have another one. The company will take care of us.”

“我其实不担心,”他说。“矿上有很多工作,即使这个岗位消失了,他们还会设立新岗位。公司会照顾我们的。”

In much of the world, people whose livelihoods depend on paychecks are increasingly anxious about a potential wave of unemployment threatened by automation. As the frightening tale goes, globalization forced people in wealthier lands like North America and Europe to compete directly with cheaper laborers in Asia and Latin America, sowing joblessness. Now, the robots are coming to finish off the humans.

在世界上的很多地方,靠工资维持生计的人越来越担心自动化可能会带来的潜在失业潮。根据骇人的说法,全球化会迫使北美和欧洲等富裕地区的人与亚洲和拉丁美洲的廉价劳动力直接竞争,导致失业问题。现在,机器人要来毁灭人类了。

But such talk has little currency in Sweden or its Scandinavian neighbors, where unions are powerful, government support is abundant, and trust between employers and employees runs deep. Here, robots are just another way to make companies more efficient. As employers prosper, workers have consistently gained a proportionate slice of the spoils — a stark contrast to the United States and Britain, where wages have stagnated even while corporate profits have soared.

但在瑞典或它在斯堪的纳维亚半岛上的邻国,这类言论几乎没有什么市场。在这些地方,工会势力强大,政府支持充足,雇主和雇员相互信任。在这里,机器人只是提高公司效率的另一种方式。随着雇主繁荣发展,员工也不断获得相应的好处。这与美国和英国形成了鲜明的对比。在美英两国,尽管企业利润飙升,但工资水平却停滞不前。

“In Sweden, if you ask a union leader, ‘Are you afraid of new technology?’ they will answer, ‘No, I’m afraid of old technology,’” says the Swedish minister for employment and integration, Ylva Johansson. “The jobs disappear, and then we train people for new jobs. We won’t protect jobs. But we will protect workers.”

“在瑞典,如果问工会领袖,‘你害怕新技术吗?’,他们会回答说,‘不怕,我害怕老技术,’”瑞典负责就业和一体化的大臣于尔娃·约翰松(Ylva Johansson)说。“工作岗位消失,然后我们会培训劳动者从事新岗位。我们不会保护工作岗位。但我们会保护劳动者。”

Americans tend to dismiss Nordic countries as a realm of nanny-state-worshiping socialists in contrast to the swashbuckling capitalists who rule in places like Silicon Valley. But Sweden presents the possibility that, in an age of automation, innovation may be best advanced by maintaining ample cushions against failure.

美国人往往对北欧国家不屑一顾,认为那是一个由崇尚保姆式国家的社会主义者,而不是统治硅谷等地的传奇资本主义者构成的国度。但瑞典却展示了一种可能性:在自动化时代,最能推动创新的,也许是保持足够的缓冲应对失败。

“A good safety net is good for entrepreneurship,” says Carl Melin, policy director at Futurion, a research institution in Stockholm. “If a project doesn’t succeed, you don’t have to go broke.”

“完善的安全保障系统有利于创业,”设在斯德哥尔摩的研究机构Futurion的政策主任卡尔·梅林(Carl Melin)说。“如果项目不成功,你也不用破产。”

Eighty percent of Swedes express positive views about robots and artificial intelligence, according to a survey this year by the European Commission. By contrast, a survey by the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans were “worried” about a future in which robots and computers substitute for humans.

欧盟委员会(European Commission)今年进行的一项调查显示,80%的瑞典人对机器人和人工智能持乐观态度。相比之下,皮尤研究中心(Pew Research Center)的一项调查发现,72%的美国人对机器人和电脑代替人类的未来感到“担忧”。

In the United States, where most people depend on employers for health insurance, losing a job can trigger a descent to catastrophic depths. It makes workers reluctant to leave jobs to forge potentially more lucrative careers. It makes unions inclined to protect jobs above all else.

在美国,大部分人依赖雇主提供医疗保险,失业可能会导致生活水平出现灾难性的下降。这导致劳动者不愿离开工作岗位,去建立可能更赚钱的事业,也让工会倾向于不顾一切地保护工作岗位。

Yet in Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia, governments provide health care along with free education. They pay generous unemployment benefits, while employers finance extensive job training programs. Unions generally embrace automation as a competitive advantage that makes jobs more secure.

但在瑞典和斯堪的纳维亚半岛的其他地方,政府提供医疗保健服务和免费的教育。它们会发放高额失业救济金,同时雇主也会出资开展广泛的职业培训。工会往往认为自动化是一种竞争优势,会让工作岗位更安全。

Making the United States more like Scandinavia would entail costs that collide with the tax-cutting fervor that has dominated American politics in recent decades.

让美国更像斯堪的纳维亚半岛,会带来与近几十年来在美国政坛占主导地位的减税热情相矛盾的成本。

Sweden, Denmark and Finland all spend more than 27 percent of their annual economic output on government services to help jobless people and other vulnerable groups, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The United States devotes less than 20 percent of its economy to such programs.

来自经济合作与发展组织(Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development)的数据显示,瑞典、丹麦和芬兰在帮助失业人员和其他弱势群体的政府服务上的支出,均超过年度经济产出的27%。而美国在这类项目上的投入不到经济产出的20%。

For Swedish businesses, these outlays yield a key dividend: Employees have proved receptive to absorbing new technology.

对瑞典的企业来说,这些支出带来了一个关键的好处:雇员被证明乐于接受新技术。

“If we don’t move forward with the technology and making money, well, then we are out of business,” says Magnus Westerlund, 35, vice chairman of a local union chapter representing laborers at two Boliden mines. “You don’t need a degree in math to do the calculation.”

“如果我们不推进科技进步赚钱,那么,我们就要歇业了,”35岁的马格努斯·韦斯特隆德(Magnus Westerlund)说,他是当地代表着两个博利登矿场劳工工会的副主席。“你不需要数学学位就能算出来。”

At the mine below the frigid pine forests in Garpenberg, 110 miles northwest of Stockholm, Mr. Persson and his co-workers earn about 500,000 krona per year (nearly $60,000). They get five weeks of vacation. Under Swedish law, when a child arrives, the parents have 480 days of family leave to apportion between them. No robot is going to change any of that, Mr. Persson says.

在位于斯德哥尔摩西北110英里(约合177公里)外的加尔彭贝里,寒冷松林下方的矿场里,佩尔松及其同事每年能挣约50万克朗(约6万美元)。他们有五周的假期。根据瑞典法律,在生了孩子后,父母可以分摊480天的家庭假。佩尔松说,任何一个机器人都改变不了这一点。

“It’s a Swedish kind of thinking,” says Erik Lundstrom, a 41-year-old father of two who works alongside Mr. Persson. “If you do something for the company, the company gives something back.”

“这是瑞典的思维逻辑,”41岁的埃里克·伦德斯特伦斯(Erik Lundstrom)说,他是两个孩子的父亲,与佩尔松一起工作。“如果你为公司做了事,公司也要回报你点儿东西。”

That proposition now confronts a formidable test. No one knows how many jobs are threatened by robots and other forms of automation, but projections suggest a potential shock.

这一主张如今面临着严峻考验。没人知道有多少工作处在机器人或其他形式自动化的威胁之下,但预测显示,那是一个潜在的震惊点。

A 2016 study by the World Economic Forum surveyed 15 major economies that collectively hold two-thirds of the global work force — about 1.86 billion workers — concluding that the rise of robots and artificial intelligence will destroy a net 5.1 million jobs by 2020.

2016年,世界经济论坛(World Economic Forum)对15个国家进行了问卷调查,这些国家共计占全球劳动力——约18.6亿工人——的三分之二,并且得出结论,认为机器人和人工智能的崛起将在2020年毁掉510万个工作岗位。

A pair of Oxford University researchers concluded that nearly half of all American jobs could be replaced by robots and other forms of automation over the next two decades.

两位牛津大学(Oxford University)的研究人员认为,美国所有工作岗位近半数都可以在未来20年,被机器人及其他形式的自动化代替。

When automated teller machines first landed at bank branches in the late 1960s, some foresaw the extinction of humans working in banks. But employment swelled as banks invested the savings into new areas like mortgage lending and insurance. Similar trends may play out again.

当自动柜员机在1960年代末首次出现在银行分支机构时,一些人预测银行的人类工作会消失。但随着银行将储蓄投资到了抵押贷款和保险这样的新领域里,被雇佣的人数大大增加。类似情形可能还会再次出现。

Yet even if robots create more jobs than they eliminate, large numbers of people are going to need to pursue new careers.

然而即使是机器人创造的工作要远多于它们消灭的工作,仍有大批人会需要追求新的事业。

Sweden and its Nordic brethren have proved successful at managing such transitions. So-called job security councils financed by employers help people who lose jobs find new ones.

在应对此类过渡方面,瑞典及其北欧同胞已经证明自己取得了成功。由雇主提供资金的工作保障委员会会帮助那些失业的人找到新的工作。

Maintaining Sweden’s social safety net also requires that the public continue to pay tax rates approaching 60 percent. Yet as Sweden absorbs large numbers of immigrants from conflict-torn nations, that support may wane. Many lack education and may be difficult to employ. If large numbers wind up depending on government largess, a backlash could result.

瑞典社会保障体系的维持,同样也要求公众继续缴纳接近60%的税率。然而随着瑞典接收了大量来自冲突不断国家的移民,这种支持可能会日渐减退。许多人缺乏教育,可能很难受到雇佣。如果大量移民最后依靠政府慷慨解囊度日,可能会导致出现反弹。

“There’s a risk that the social contract could crack,” said Marten Blix, an economist at the Research Institute of Industrial Economics in Stockholm.

“存在社会契约破裂的风险,”斯德哥尔摩工业经济研究所(Industrial Economics)的经济学家马滕·布利克斯(Marten Blix)说。

For now, the social compact endures, and at the Boliden mine, a sense of calm prevails.

就目前而言,社会契约还维持着。在博利登矿场,气氛平静。

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