A great deal has been written recently on the topic of artificial intelligence and how this could revolutionise industries and transform the world as we know it… but what is often not discussed, are the potential negative repercussions and how we should be preparing for these.
A number of industries are already predicting huge job losses and recruitment freezes a result of artificial intelligence over the coming years. Research by Citi concludes that currently, 35% of jobs in the UK are at risk of automation.
If large numbers of the population, particularly those in low-skilled work areas, are suddenly displaced by machines, it is natural that we should be concerned about what should happen to those individuals.
An even greater concern is that it is not just ‘low-level’ industries that are being affected and not just in the long term, Deloitte for example has already indicated that graduate recruitment in accountancy and audit is likely to half by 2020 as a result of AI.
We have identified the problem – so what is the solution?
Some experts have pointed towards a basic income as a fix to this dilemma – which is something already being trialled with some success in Finland.
The concept is simple – every individual is given a basic wage regardless of whether they work or not. The idea is that most people will still be incentivised to work in order to top up this basic income.
This is not only an example being trialled, but also one that appears to be popular with majority of the population. Research by Dalia has found that 68% of people in EU member states would vote for some form of basic income.
People would therefore be free to focus on areas of interest or where they have a particular talent or skill regardless of how well it pays, such as pursuing artistic or creative endeavours which could have the benefit of creating a richer society where a diverse range of talents are given value, not just those with a purely monetary value (investing time in helping our community, vulnerable individuals, the environment etc.).
Implementing such as a system could give us an opportunity to step back, both as individuals and as a society, and really assess what we are currently assigning value to. It would allow individuals to make that choice for themselves rather than being coerced due to external financial constraints.
What kind of society would be created as a result of such as a system remains to be seen, but I for one am optimistic and excited to see we can come up with.
Julie, Consultant, Leyton UK
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