Automation and AI: how it will actually affect the workplace

Personnel Today – August 2019

Is there any consensus on the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on our working lives? Will society benefit or suffer? How will HR play its part in reshaping the workforce? Personnel Today examines the impact on jobs and people management.

A blasé optimism pervades the burgeoning automation revolution. More jobs, not fewer, will be the result and a happier workforce, freed from drudgery, will be able to pursue more meaningful activities – whatever those may be. But many employees will inevitably be left fearful for their job’s survival.

A PwC study estimated that UK GDP could be up to 10% higher in 2030 due to artificial intelligence (AI) technology – equivalent to an additional £232bn.

But the optimists might be in for a shock. As KPMG states in its report Rise of the Humans 3, there is no clear consensus over how automation will impact society and the economy: “In any sector you care to name … predictable planning horizons are collapsing with alarming speed and as they do, even the experts cannot agree on AI’s ultimate workforce impact.

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