Benefitting Labour while Automating Airports
Assistant Professor Lin Weiqiang (NUS Department of Geography) was awarded the Social Science and Humanities Research (SSHR) Fellowship in 2019. Launched in 2018, the SSHR Fellowship aims to nurture local researchers by supporting them for five years in their independent research that adds value to Singapore. With this funding, A/P Lin is studying the future implications of automating airports on the livelihood of employees.
As a cultural geographer, A/P Lin observes the dynamic relationship of man and infrastructure in the technologically advanced arenas of airports and airspaces. He notes that the increase in automation, which is expected to hasten post-pandemic, could bring about repercussions for labour as dependency on technology surges.
For his research on the topic, A/P Lin will be examining several international airports to understand the adaptations employees are making, and the airport authorities’ rationales behind technologically advancing infrastructure. In addition to Changi airport, he will be looking into the less studied but highly competitive Dubai, Beijing, and Jakarta airports to bring insights of Asian airports to the field.
As A/P Lin believes in the need to synergise labour and automation, he hopes to use his findings to create solutions, in collaboration with airports, that are mutually beneficial to the workers and airports.
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