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Impact of AI on jobs will be less than expected, says OECD

03 April 2018

Increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology will not have as much effect on work roles as predicted in a 2013 study by Oxford University, it has been claimed.

This was one of the main messages within a report by the Orgnisation for Economic Co-peration and Development (OECD).

With 35% of UK and 47% of US jobs previously labelled as being at "high risk" of automation within 20 years of the 2013 report's publication date, these figures have been adjusted to 12% and 10% respectively, according to the BBC.

However, the impact of AI is expected to drive significant changes in many roles.

The OECD said that the previous predictions had been focused on a broad group of jobs with the same title, but its latest forecasts took differences between roles with the same title into account.

In addition to the Oxford University report, further studies also predicted that AI uptake would see a high number of jobs disappear.

Taking a wider variety of factors into account, the OECD says AI impact will depend on factors such as previous labour-saving initiatives being implemented and the complexity of social relationships required, such as in the care sector.

Where job roles require high levels of creativity and complex reasoning, or involve constant physical manipulation of objects in changeable work environments, the impact of AI will also be limited.

Significant implications for the FM sector were implied with the listing of jobs such as cleaning, food preparation and agricultural labourers expected to see "significantly more impact" as AI technology develops.

Concerns for entry-level jobs were also expressed in the study, with implications that this will impact the recruitment of young workers.

The Economic Singularity author Calum Chace told the BBC that the impact of AI should still be taken seriously, as the use of "empirical evidence" fails to take the rapid improvement of AI capability into account.

He stated that there is a "serious possibility" that many jobs will go within the next 30 years "because machines will be able to do whatever they could do better, cheaper and faster".

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