The Rise Of AI And Robots Divides The UK

Workers in the North could find themselves unemployed in the coming decades due to the influx of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots, while their counterparts in the South will profit from rising demand and increased employment.

According to information presented to MPs on the likely effects of automation, mature workers in northern cities are particularly susceptible to losing their jobs due to their low skill levels than older workers in the South.

Generally, the rise of technology and investment should create jobs and affluence but remaining ahead of the curve by implementing new technology could be very daunting – and the cost implications and benefits could be different across the country.

A potential good investment for the Land Registry recently was to adopt Blockchain technology to make all data digital and instant. The new technology could help to reduce property fraud and create a more streamlined home buying process in the future.

In other industries, retail workers are at a high risk of losing their jobs, which is a sector that has already been feeling the effects of new technology – with up to a fifth of shop assistants and cashiers potentially losing their jobs in the future.

Centre for Cities said: “Today’s least productive cities are those most exposed to the risk of job losses in the future.”

Those cities in the UK which are highly productive can expect a lot more job prospects in comparison to those cities which are less productive and least prosperous. The think-tank said more than one-quarter of all jobs in Mansfield, Stoke, Doncaster, and Blackburn are at risk from robots over the coming decade, while it found just 13% of jobs in Oxford and Cambridge are at risk.

However, a large proportion of jobs in the South will be highly skilled.

It is the exact opposite for a number of cities further north said the think-tank. “In Blackburn, Sunderland and Bradford, around one in 10 of these jobs are currently in higher-skilled private sector occupations, with lower-skilled jobs in the private sector, such as in food preparation and hospitality, having a much larger share.”

There was also found to be a quarter of all 50 to 64-year-olds in northern cities to have no formal qualifications whereas in Oxford the level was barely one in 20.

Paddy Lillis, general secretary of the Usdaw union told the Business select committee that “Struggling towns and cities in the North and the Midlands are going to be most exposed and many of them are already a hot spot for unemployment.”

Due to the economic success of London and the South East, The union chief further added by saying it has “diverted talent and investment away from other regions” which has left other parts of the country with much higher volumes of low-skilled workers who may lose their jobs to robots and will, therefore, struggle to find employment elsewhere.

The British Safety Council have stressed that along with the worry of becoming unemployed it could also add extra loneliness and anxiety to some people, who have predicted that jobs in accommodation, food services, agriculture, transportation, warehousing and retailing are all at high risk of automation too.

It is felt that customers could be potentially harmed by the lack of human interaction as well. In evidence given to MPs, one checkout operator said: “Many of our older customers come in at least two or three times per day, and it is often clearly so that they can get out for a change of scenery, say hello to someone and preferably exchange a few words.”

In Wills and probate, the use of technology is increasingly being used to ensure consumer expectations are met but a huge amount of people still prefer human interaction over technology when making Wills.

Economists expect the overall number of jobs to rise as robots take repetitive tasks in sectors from manual work to professions such as accounting and law.

With robots implementing these monotonous tasks, it is believed it will boost productivity, enhance wages and increase wealth in areas – and perhaps radical pay changes in different industries.

However, late last year a recent study by LawGeex tested a machine learning AI against 20 human professional lawyers to see how the technology would perform on the subject of contract law.

The results were staggering, it took on average a lawyer 92 minutes to complete the task whereas AI completed the same task in just 26 seconds.

According to the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, highly skilled workers such as medics, for example, could have their salary slashed if they are replaced by robots.

While, care workers could benefit greatly by having their productivity massively enhanced which could, in turn, boost profits within the sector and potentially their salary too.

In order to meet the needs of the consumers, legal firms are adopting new technologies to make legal work quicker and more efficient. At the end of 2018, The Solicitors Regulation Authority published a report about how technology can help modernise and drive innovation in legal services. There is no doubt that new technological possibilities could bring risks to the legal sector but at the same time potential opportunities to firms could be vast.


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