Major research has found that artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation have created jobs and improved work quality.
The Institute for the Future of Work, Imperial College London and Warwick Business School surveyed more than 1,000 UK firms and found that 864 are using AI and other automated technology.
According to the report, What drives UK firms to adopt AI and robotics, and what are the consequences for jobs?, 78% said the technologies had directly resulted in new jobs, while 53% admitted that they had eliminated or replaced some positions. Additionally, 83% reported that they had increased the need for new skills, while 69% believed that they had improved job quality. However, nearly 54% said that new technology has reduced the need for some skills.
The study found that AI impacts skills positively where it supports a worker’s discretion for further action, but negatively where it automates significant tasks. It argues that this is influenced by regional investment and education levels and a firm’s technology adoption practices.
Lead author professor James Hayton, of Warwick Business School, noted that the far South West and far North West have “a lower level of readiness in terms of investment in education and investment in technology infrastructure” than regions such as the South East and London.
The study urges firms and policymakers to invest in workers and use automation to add to their capabilities, rather than replace them.
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