UK: Investing in skills training & promoting collective bargaining will help prevent potential negative impacts of AI & automation on workers

Author: Trades Union Congress, Published on: 4 September 2017

"Shaping our digital future: a TUC discussion paper," 4 September 2017

Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and the Internet of Things... are set to change the way we live, including the way we work. New technologies could bring massive benefits to aspects of our lives as varied as medical diagnostics and the fight against climate change. But at present, digital technologies are causing a degree of fear among the working population, with many people asking the simple question: is a robot about to take my job?... Britain has the potential to become a digital world leader, using new technology to deliver growth and jobs. But that must be accompanied by a mission to ensure that the benefits of digitalisation are fairly shared across the workforce and society – avoiding the disruption to jobs and livelihoods and the rising inequality that have accompanied technological change in the past.

... [W]e believe that rather than attempt to hold back the technological tide, the UK should plan how to use it to enhance productivity, jobs, and wages, particularly in the areas which previous waves of industrial change have left behind... In the past, technological change has caused widespread disruption to some workers’ jobs and livelihoods. A key aim for managing this wave of technology must therefore be to protect workforces and communities who are at greatest risk of seeing their jobs change... [W]e need to ensure that if the productivity benefits from new technology do show up, the rewards are fairly shared. [refers to Airbus, General Electric & Google]

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Related companies: Airbus Alphabet EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space) General Electric Google (part of Alphabet)