Skip to main content

AI 'set to cause major divisions in the UK job market'

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek)

The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology could be set to shake up the job scene in the UK sooner than expected, new research has found.

A BT survey of over 1,500 senior UK IT decision makers found that AI, widely expected to usher in the "fourth industrial revolution", is in fact already splitting opinions in the labour market. 

On the positive side, a third of businesses which say they plan to introduce AI or automation technologies within the next two years believe it will create more jobs within the workplace.

However, a similar amount of respondents also feared that implementing such services would lead to job losses, as robotic or automated procedures replaced trained human workers.

Overall, one in four of the organisations surveyed said they were already using automation technologies, with the likes of drones, robots or autonomous vehicles proving popular.

Around one in three IT decision makers also revealed that they are planning to invest in AI and automation over the next two years, with almost two thirds (63 per cent) describing disruptive technologies as being ‘very beneficial’ to their business. 

"This research gives us a fascinating insight into the early adoption of AI, automation and other disruptive technologies in the UK workplace," said Colm O’Neill, managing director of major corporates and public sector at BT.

"The findings illustrate the rapid pace of technological change amongst organisations of all types and sizes. And while some organisations clearly view disruptive technologies as a potential threat to the labour market, we believe the introduction of new automated technologies and business processes will play to the strengths of both people and machines."

BT says it is already doing is bit for the machines by fully utilising machine learning and AI in many of its central business practices. 

The company was the first telecoms firm in Europe to embrace AI technology back in the 1990's, implementing new ideas to improve workforce scheduling to improve the efficiency of its workforce.

These days, BT still utilises a range of up to date services, including its latest Machine Assisted Cyber Threat Hunting technology, which combines AI and visual interfaces for identifying and understanding cyber security threats hidden within huge mounds of data. 

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro, and has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and ITProPortal.