A report published today predicts how artificial intelligence ("AI") could transform the UK job market:

  • 30% of UK jobs could potentially be at high risk of automation by the early 2030s, lower than in the US or Germany, but higher than in Japan;

  • risks could be highest in sectors such as transportation and storage, manufacturing and wholesale and retail, but lower in sectors like health and social work;

  • For those with GCSE-level education or lower, the estimated potential risk of automation is as high as 46% in the UK, but this falls to around 12% for those with undergraduate degrees or higher;

  • AI and robotics could create new jobs in digital technology and generate further wealth and spending that will support additional jobs of existing kinds, primarily in services sectors that are less susceptible to automation.

This raises some interesting questions for employers and employees, for example:

  • Will employers face grievances from employees if robots create a hostile environment? Remember Tay, Microsoft’s racist chat bot?

  • Could employers be held liable for the acts of their robots in the same way that they can be liable for the acts of their employees?

AI is set to change the workplace in significant ways including reorganisations and, in some areas, redundancies as employers modify workplaces to accommodate computerised workers. Employers will need to stay up to date with technological advancements and have a rational and sensitive strategy for the introduction of AI into the workplace.

By Katee Dias and Morgan Wolfe