The Potential Of AI For Creating New Jobs And Industries In The UK

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The Potential Of AI For Creating New Jobs And Industries In The UK

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AI is creating quite a stir in the technology community. Recent developments in large language models are proving how intelligent machines can be. Even though they might not have a consciousness of their own, they are becoming highly practical, as we argued in a previous blog

For many, the arrival of AI is the death knell for traditional jobs. Unlike previous technological revolutions which added to the value of labour, this one has the potential to replace it wholesale, leaving millions of people out of work. 

However, there is another argument: AI will actually create jobs and vastly increase wealth. Which story you believe at this stage depends on your perspective. However, there are green shoots of hope for working people across the country, particularly as London is now becoming a leader in new artificial intelligence technologies. 

What Is AI? 

AI, or artificial intelligence, is the technology that enables machines to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. These include but are not limited to, understanding language, recognising images, making decisions, and learning from data.

The sheer scope of what AI can do already is remarkable. It is already transforming many aspects of our lives, from how we communicate and entertain ourselves to how we work and solve problems.

But what AI means for the future is unclear. It tends to work well within narrowly-defined parameters but doesn’t do such a good job when you ask it to interact with the real world. 

Take the problem of self-driving cars. AIs are able to get around 99 per cent of the way there. However, there are no fully autonomous vehicles on the road yet because there is still a significant 1 per cent of problems that they can’t solve. 

How Will AI Help Workers? 

Hence, AI could actually be a boon for workers. That’s because most firms will adopt a hybrid approach. They will leverage AI for competitive advantage, but they will also require people to train, evaluate, curate, and modify systems. Right now, AI isn’t generally intelligent (although it could look like that). Machines can’t function independently in the world or negotiate it themselves. They need human agents to assist them with basic tasks. 

With that said, AI could displace workers. According to a recent report by PwC, AI and related technologies such as robotics, drones and driverless vehicles could displace around 7 million existing jobs in the UK by 2037. However, the same analysis found that they might create around 7.2 million new ones, giving a net jobs boost of around 0.2 million. 

More dire predictions from Oxford university suggest that the UK could lose around 40 per cent of jobs before 2035. Researchers made this conclusion after considering what cognitive and physical tasks machines could perform in an economically cheaper way than humans.

Such job destruction would imply the loss of some 13 million jobs across the country which would be harder for the market to absorb. 

Which Sectors Will Benefit The Most? 

Interestingly, most of the positive effects of AI will be seen in the health and social work sector. Here, experts believe employment could increase by nearly one million, equivalent to around 20 per cent of existing jobs in the sector.

The reason for this is that AI could enhance human capabilities and enable better diagnosis, treatment and care for patients. It could also provide physical in-home care services, in the form of assistance robots (though that could still be twenty years away from becoming a practical technology). 

Other sectors could also see a boost from AI. Professional, scientific and technical services, for example, will benefit from AI’s ability to parse data. Machines could develop new theories to help scientists. 

Digital marketing will also transform. Already tools, such as Optimo, are hitting the market that speeds up creative work and makes it more accurate, helpful, and useful to readers. 

Which Sectors Could Suffer? 

On the other hand, some sectors could see a net decrease in jobs due to AI. The most negative effect will be in the manufacturing sector where employment could fall by nearly 700,000. Routine tasks could be automated by machines with higher speeds, accuracy and efficiency, putting many people out of work. 

Public administration could also see a dramatic decline in jobs. Local authorities may prefer to use AI systems to interact with citizens to reduce tax spending and funnel resources to other areas that require them more. 

Ultimately, nobody quite knows how AI will develop. If it develops faster than experts predict, all bets are off. 

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The Potential Of AI For Creating New Jobs And Industries In The UK

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