Up to around 30% of existing UK jobs could face automation over the next 15 years, but new AI-related technologies will also boost productivity and generate additional jobs elsewhere in the economy, according to new analysis by PwC in its latest UK Economic Outlook report.
The study estimates that the UK (30%) has a lower proportion of existing jobs at potential high risk of automation than the US (38%) and Germany (35%), but more than Japan (21%).
Elsewhere, on a similar theme the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute surveyed 1,634 leading AI researchers on what they believed would happen in this area in the future. The consensus was that AI will indeed outperform humans in many tasks, a few examples: driving trucks (by 2027); translating languages (by 2024); writing high school essays (by 2026); carrying out surgeries (2053).
Interestingly, the PwC report also finds that in many cases the nature of jobs will change rather than disappear and education will be a key differentiating factor for individuals.
Others hold the view that as companies adopt and embrace AI - which they will to stay competitive - in the end these changes will create more jobs than they destroy. The advantage will be with those with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in an ever more digital economy.
AI and associated skills (eg, machine learning, Python, natural language processing, algorithms, Mathematica, data analytics, robotics, deep learning, information retrieval) will be increasingly sought after. This trend can already be seen from the rise in the number of permanent jobs advertised with a requirement for AI skills as well as a rise in the median salary from £55k in 2015 to £65k today. (source: ITJobsWatch).
For all of us we will need to learn how to adjust to a world with machine intelligence that will scale through the cloud, mobile and all human activity in the century ahead.