With AI and automation now becoming an option for many businesses, what will the social impact and reputational effects be?
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, the adoption of AI and automation is an important challenge many businesses will face.
This white paper asks, with the potential to improve productivity and reduce costs, the benefits of AI and automation for businesses are obvious – but at what cost to the labour market and society?
It argues, it is the social impact of automation that makes it a crucial reputational issue for businesses considering developing and using automating technologies.
By analysing the views of the public and policymakers on the subject, it seeks to view what the future holds for automation and what hurdles businesses will have to jump.
What do policymakers think?
With a survey of UK MPs, the report finds policymakers support automation. 89% feel business should continue to develop and use AI and robotics to automate work, with 66% agreeing that automation will have a positive impact on the UK economy. In terms of an automation tax, only one in five MPs (19%) support the idea, while 53% disagree.
However, policymakers are aware of the effects of automation, especially job losses. 45% of MPs agree there will be more jobs lost than gained over the next 15 years due to automation. MPs also believe this will primarily effect low-skilled workers, with 55% saying this will be the case.
The tech sector always bets that product quality will override privacy concerns
Probably the most common criticism levelled at the tech sector is the one about privacy – the sense that the tech sector, or government enabled by the tech sector, are collecting far more data on individuals than they should, and that the data is then being sold or used for unclear purposes. While the tech sector sticks closely to its cherished, and well-proven, ideology that positive user experience nearly always mitigates these concerns in practice, it is also true that the concerns of pro-privacy groups within society, and government, are getting louder and more prominent.