Will the Nordics survive the robotics revolution

The Nordics are well placed to survive the impact of fintech, 3D printing and other new technologies.

There has been a wave of fear passing through the investment world in the last year, as the rising awareness of the impact of technological change is becoming apparent.

Fintech is likely to lead to large scale redundancies in investment and retail banking, with the City of London likely to suffer from the changing landscape in which a much smaller number of people are able to take on jobs that are outsourced to technology firms that can provide services at a fraction of the cost of human employees. It is likely that jobs outside of sales and marketing — which require human input and creativity to thrive — will take the biggest hit.

Similarly the 3D printing revolution will change manufacturing forever. While the current focus is on outsourcing labour to the most cost-efficient territories, the ability to carry out large scale manufacturing projects via automation and advanced 3D printing systems will inevitably lead to mass redundancies. Even skilled workforces — such as Germany’s — will face pressure in a world in which the power of automation and technological innovation will disrupt existing models of financial growth.

One region well equipped to prosper in such as world is the Nordics. While Israel, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan are the world leaders in innovation and technology, the Nordics is the European hub of such experimental thinking. Finland has suffered from redundancies as its traditional industries decline and a large proportion of the workforce is left unemployed, yet at the same time has made considerable progress in growing its technology base, creating giants from the likes of Rovio and Supercell.

At the same time Sweden is pushing ahead with its technology industry, creating fortunes from names such as Spotify and iZettle. Denmark is following a similar path, forging a focus on technology, windpower and other related sectors. Iceland is also in a solid position, with food exports, technology and tourism all likely to be able to support the minnow.

Norway meanwhile is the trust fund recipient of the Nordics, able to survive on its enormous sovereign wealth fund and small population for the foreeseable future, even if limited progress is made in growing its technology base.

While Europe faces a lean and challenging future, the Nordics look like one part of the world ready to take on the 21st century. Hopefully a robot cannot replace Nordic Intelligence any time soon.

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