Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers enormous potential benefits for society. From driverless cars to analysing trends in climate change data, AI could help improve lives and solve many of the problems we face as a species. However, there are also risks involved if policymakers get it wrong.

On Tuesday 24 April 2018 at 14:30 CET, Debating Europe held a live debate in the European Parliament on the impact of AI on the future of jobs. We put questions and comments sent in from our readers to a panel of experts representing all sides of the debate.

Taking part on the panel were:

  • Mady Delvaux-Stehres, Member of the European Parliament with the Socialist & Democrats and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Legal Affairs;
  • Olivia Chapman, Policy Manager, Nesta;
  • Erik Sandström, CDO, Swedish Employment Agency;
  • Matt Brittin, President of the EMEA Business & Operations Google

You can watch the video of the debate at the top of this page (if, for some reason, the video doesn’t load then please follow this link).

Is Artificial Intelligence a threat or an opportunity for jobs? Do we need to retool our education systems to equip people with the right skills for work in the 21st century? How can we avoid people being “left behind” by automation? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC0 / Pexels – Soumil Kumar

27 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    It depends on the individual, it is known that an IQ of less than 90 means the individual is incapable of following the simplest of job instructions so is pretty much unemployable at present. As technology becomes more complex the level of IQ required to interact with it will increase. At present around 10% of the population has an IQ of 90 or below so AI is already a direct threat to them. Across the EU that represents 50 million people which will rise to around 350 million as the required IQ needed passes 115 .

  2. avatar
    Tarquin Farquhar

    AI will both lose and create jobs BUT over time AI will not be the problem it will be AGI: Artificial General Intelligence.

  3. avatar

    An opportunity, human beings may add value to services and work done by AI.

  4. avatar

    I very much dislike these kind of yes or no dilemas that is posted on this page. It greatly depends on the circumstances. There are laws to protect peoples rights. In general, technology should never be a threat.

    • avatar

      Eh, I think it’s just asking if you think it’s a *net* positive or a *net* negative?

  5. avatar

    Poser la question en ces termes, c’est déjà fort mal démarrer…

  6. avatar

    It seems pretty straightforward that the most reasonable answer is: both of them. Automation through intensive use of a.i. and machine learning procedures is indeed a threat for unskilled workers, whose jobs are going to be inevitably stolen at a rate growing faster and faster as time passes and technology evolves. Nonetheless, I believe that a.i. and related technologies might really be in the foreseeable future one of the most powerful assets humankind has ever had. The condition for taking advantage of this process is being able to educate a class of skilled and “tech-literate” workers, able to cope with the demand of the future job market. This condition is far from being verified: right now, data and projections for the next 10 years show an exponential growth in the demand for engineers, statisticians, computer scientists, mathematicians and so forth, whereas the offer of qualified workers is thought to be declining over the next decade. This is going to create a deep gap where educated people will thrive, seeing their salaries growing at an ever increasing rate, while the most part of the jobs existing today (up to 66% according to the Economist) will be wiped out by the end of the next 20-30 years. Therefore, I’d guess that a.i. is a wonderful opportunity, insofar as people are able to cope with the soaring demands of the job market.

  7. avatar

    Depends on your skills, taxi drivers yes, Strategic Alliance and sales jobs are safe.

  8. avatar

    I see it as an opportunity for people to do what they are good at that is in my opinion creativity which does not necessary equates IQ. If the previous century went to mass production, I think this century will go the custom production, where people will trade for unique products, by applying a creative point of view with help of advanced manufacturing such as 3d printing.

    Automation, robotics and ultimately AI will cut the production cost for essentials close to nothing, hence the idea of universal basic income, or similar, could provide basic living essentials for everyone. We should not forget that riches, wealth, money, are abstracts, labels social concepts for people to trade for services – once these services are mostly done by machines, there will be no need for it.

  9. avatar

    The flaw in the question (and therefore the debate) is in the underlying assumption that it’s desirable for everyone to be working. It’s not. People should be free to explore their potential, and A.I. will *FREE* them from wage slavery.

  10. avatar

    A curse as Stephen Hawkins has said, who needs humans anymore.

  11. avatar
    Lu Lu

    It would be an opportunity with a lower world population. But since people refuse to procreate less, it will be a threat

  12. avatar

    Opportunity. Technological innovation will definitely require policy adaptation, but I think it’ll be a net positive in the long-term.

  13. avatar

    it will be a disaster. Now is hard to see it.Most employees that working with a computer are easily replaceable by machines and that’s for maximising profits, not for benefit people to do creative tasks, dont believe that fairy tail .Rich get richer and poor get poorer ,we have capitalism.
    Why this is a disaster? Well, skilled people (A) will get fired, since another hired third party more skilled (AI company or a AI programmer) , will code the automation procedure to replace A .No matter how skilled and how good you are at work, if your company decides to bring AI to the business, you are in jeopardy.Also dont say ” i am a human, i make decisions, i am safe” computers can also make decisions and much better than you , computers drive trains,cars also used in warfare and many more.So the fired people , will look jobs elsewhere , with lower salaries and less skilled positions since we reach a level where their positions will be AI replaceable and cheap in the market.So low income will make them poor and easily replaceable by other fired people and will be cursed to a dog eat dog situation.This leads to depression,violence , lack of education,abuse of substances ,bad social behaviour ,crime , less opportunities for future generations etc
    Hard replaceable jobs will be researchers , architects-engineers ,lawyers, policemen,phycologists etc generally creative occupations or social related. As you understand, we cannot all have a creative job, that will be a minority of people. The majority will suffer and will commit crimes against that minority to survive.While company stake holders will drink the finest champagne on a golden yacht.

    *I used to work as an software automations engineer

  14. avatar
    Amali De Silva-Mitchell

    The quality of the human computer interface / interaction is important for the range (digital skills base) of persons that can engage (inclusivity) with an AI product or service

  15. avatar

    Only if your IQ is 100 or below, that’s 70% of the population. As the intellectual requirement needed to interact with the new technology increases you will have 350 million people who will be pretty much unemployable.

  16. avatar

    I think that It depends on us that we take it as a boon ar a bane. Just like a coin, it also has 2 faces, in which one ias negative and another one is positive. And we only are responsible for all this.
    I think they yes, It will take job opportunities away as they will kept as workers and officers and everything will be computerised.

  17. avatar

    JOIN us!
    Brussels, 17 September!

    The issue of AI- artificial intelligence is yet a buzz word and a very hot subject in EU, Europe, and also in Brussels.

    1. Bring the issue of fundamental rights in the context of AI to the broad audience
    2. Educate and sensitize participants, media etc. that AI is not a threat as long as it is considered wisely and with respect for fundamental rights, ethical principles and transparency
    3. As the technology goes faster than legislation, this first conference shall also put more light onto the subject and in fact be a strong voice in the creation of a code of conduct/AI principles inspiring any possible regulations,

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