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STEM conference 2019: The coming of the robots: Threat or opportunity for high-skilled workers?

There is a popular narrative that the robots are coming to take our jobs. This new artificial intelligence (AI) coupled with advanced automation will lead to mass job losses. More nuanced commentary claims that high-skilled workers will be relatively safe. However we have been here before: back in the late 1970s the leader of what might now be called the union for STEM workers (Clive Jenkins of the Association of Scientific Technical and Managerial Staffs) argued that by the mid-1980s microchips would wipe out most jobs leaving only STEM workers and their university educators along with entertainers. It didn’t happen. The problem is that most claims about the impact of new technology are based on forecasts based on economistic modelling or are simply predictions. Little empirical data exists. A soon-to-be-published new survey of UK senior managers conducted for the CIPD by the Institute of Employment Research (IER) attempts to fill this gap. Its findings reveal a more mixed set of job outcomes in companies that have already invested in digital technology. This plenary offers a taster of those findings – which suggest that high-skilled workers (e.g. professional and higher technical staff) are most likely to be most affected by the introduction of AI with existing jobs lost and new ones created.

Keynote Chris Warhurst.pdf
Keynote Chris Warhurst.pdf View Document