As with every topical issue, there is more to the sensational headlines and statistics than first appears. Through my series of articles, I hope to clear up some of the inaccuracies and broaden people’s understanding of the impact of automation, AI and robotics.
A recent study conducted by YouGov for the Royal Society of Arts, advisory to the UK Government threw up some interesting results potentially impacting millions of UK workers. The areas most likely to be impacted by automation over the coming decade are finance and accounting, transport and distribution and in media, marketing and advertising the research says.
It should be noted that currently, automation tends to be task-based rather than job-based, across key activities that involve predictable physical work, data processing, and data collection. Additionally, no single device can yet wholly substitute for sales assistants, care workers, hotel receptionists, building labourers or the large majority of jobs that exist today.
Like we saw with Amazon, automation can alter jobs rather than eliminate them allowing the creation of new types of jobs, raise productivity levels, and potentially making businesses more competitive while phasing out dull, dangerous and physically demanding tasks.
Unquestionably, automation can create many opportunities as well as threats. Let's not forget that technology is a tool and not some independent force with a mind of its own....yet. The great irony at the heart of the frenzied speculation of whether new technology will lead to mass automation is that very few businesses are even embracing it. Ultimately, employers, policymakers, consumers, and you will need to determine its appropriate application and prepare the workforce of today and tomorrow for any disruption it may bring.
Four million jobs in the British private sector could be replaced by robots in the next decade, according to business leaders asked about the future of automation and artificial intelligence. The potential impact amounts to 15% of the current workforce in the sector and emerged in a poll conducted by YouGov for the Royal Society of Arts, whose chief executive, Matthew Taylor, has been advising Downing Street on the future of modern work.