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UK needs "skills revolution" to stop AI jobs threat

(Image credit: Image Credit: Tatiana Shepeleva / Shutterstock)

According to the Bank of England's chief economist, the UK will need a skills revolution to avoid large numbers of the country's populace becoming “technologically unemployed” as artificial intelligence makes many jobs obsolete.

Andy Haldane is growing increasingly worried that the Fourth Industrial Revolution could disrupt the lives of citizens on a much greater scale than the First Industrial Revolution did during the Victorian era.

He has observed a widespread “hollowing out” of the jobs market combined with rising inequality and social tensions that are making it harder for people to earn a living.

Haldane stressed that we must learn from history's lessons by ensuring that people are given the necessary training needed to fill the jobs of tomorrow.

Tabitha Goldstaub, the chair of the recently formed Artificial Intelligence Council, shares Haldane's views and warns that there is a huge risk of people being left behind as the future of work is transformed by computers and robots.

By creating new jobs for the future, we can ensure that there will be positions available to replace those that will disappear as a result of AI, automation and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Haldane shared his views on the matter with the BBC for its Today Programme, saying:

“What we can I think say with some confidence, however, is that given that the scale of job loss displacement it is likely to be at least as large as that of the first three industrial revolutions. We will need even greater numbers of new jobs to be created in the future, if we are not to suffer this longer-term feature called technological unemployment. It has not been a feature of the past, but could it possibly be a feature for the future? I think that is a much more open question than any previous point, possibly, in history."

As AI and other emerging technologies find their way into the workplace, governments and their citizens have grown increasingly concerned over how these technologies may make many of today's jobs obsolete. 

However, by preparing the workers of the future accordingly, we can help brace the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to ensure that today's workers are prepared for the disruption to the jobs market.

Image Credit: Tatiana Shepeleva / Shutterstock

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.