Building an AI safety net

Building an AI safety net

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Artificial intelligence and related technologies will create as many jobs as they destroy in the UK over the next 20 years, according to PwC. The consultancy says its current forecasts suggest that the overall net effect of AI on UK jobs may be broadly neutral.

The economic sectors set to see the largest net increase in jobs due to AI over the coming two decades include health (+22%), professional, scientific and technical services (+16%) and education (+6%), according to PwC forecasts.

However, there’s bad employment news for others. The largest net long-term decreases in jobs will be in manufacturing (-25%), transport and storage (-22%) and public administration (-18%).

Many of manufacturing jobs may be displaced in early waves of AI as routine factory tasks continue to be replaced by algorithms and robots, over and above what has already happened.

Transport and storage will be hit as driverless vehicles roll out across the economy and warehouses become increasingly automated.

And clerical tasks in the public sector are also liable to be replaced by algorithms as public finances remain under strain with an ageing population, leading to a continuing focus on efficiency gains through automation of routine tasks.

PwC believes government should strengthen the safety net for those who find it hard to adjust to technological changes. It says governments “need to consider how to redistribute some of the significant GDP gains from AI more widely across society”.

Image: PwC

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