Artificial Intelligence and related technologies will create more British jobs than it displaces, according to new research from professional services firm PwC.
Over the next 20 years AI will displace around 7million British jobs as robots are brought in to fulfill some roles more efficiently than humans, but PwC claimed that 7.2million jobs will be created by its emergence.
The research contradicts widely-made gloomy predictions of AI causing large scale unemployment, as things that used to be done by people are done better or more cheaply by robots.
Over the next 20 years AI will displace around 7million UK jobs according to PwC.
It is not all rosy, however, as there is wide variation across industries expected, with some seeing a boom in jobs, while other types of worker are expected to be badly hit by the rise of AI technology.
PwC forecasts that the health sector is set to see the most new jobs created by AI, with a 1million, or 22 per cent, increase followed by ‘professional, scientific and technical services’, with a 16 per cent rise and the education sector will see a 6 per cent rise.
On the other side of the coin, it is no surprise to see that manufacturing will be hit the worst, with a 700,000 or 25 per cent cut in the number of workers as production becomes increasingly automated.
The next most badly hit will be ‘transport and storage,’ with a 22 per cent fall in jobs, and public administration is projected to see an 18 per cent cut.
John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC and author of the report, said: ‘Major new technologies, from steam engines to computers, displace some existing jobs but also generate large productivity gains.
‘This reduces prices and increases real income and spending levels, which in turn creates demand for additional workers.’
‘Our analysis suggests the same will be true of AI, robots and related technologies, but the distribution of jobs across sectors will shift considerably in the process.’
Amazon warehouses like this one in Dunfermline are likely to see more automation over the coming years.
Euan Cameron, UK AI leader at PwC added; ‘AI offers a huge potential economic boost to the UK and it’s great to see the Government recognise and support the development of the sector through the AI Sector Deal.’
AI offers a huge potential economic boost to the UK
‘As our analysis shows, there will be winners and losers. It’s likely that the fourth industrial revolution will favour those with strong digital skills, as well as capabilities like creativity and teamwork which machines find it harder to replicate.’
Alongside the research PwC therefore issued a recommendation that the Government invest more money in development of the ‘STEAM’ (science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics) skills that will be most useful to people in a world with AI.
The Government should also encourage workers to continually update and adapt their skills so as to complement what machines can do, and it should strengthen the ‘safety net’ for those who find it hard to adjust to the coming technological advancement, PwC said.