Are our jobs safe from the machines? Or will robots soon replace human workers?
EDUCATE director, Professor Rose Luckin, was one of a distinguished panel of academics and experts debating this topical issue in a two-part series on the place of robots in the workplace, broadcast on the BBC technology programme Click.
The ‘people versus the machines’ theme looked at how automation was already replacing people in many jobs, and to what extent we should fear a future workplace without humans.
It also questioned how governments would compensate for the loss of taxation paid by workers, to provide public services. Should robots pay income tax, or should there be a tax on data?
Professor Luckin commented on how technology was defining the future of the workforce, and how working alongside artificial intelligence systems would lead to different, and more effective workplace practices.
This was particularly important in the education and health sectors which are already experiencing a shortage of workers.
She said that rather than worrying about whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) would replace humans as workers, people should be focussing on how to use AI to become better skilled and more adaptable.
The impact of AI should include a re-think on the school curriculum, which currently relied upon learners memorising information – something that computers can do effectively. Instead, Professor Luckin said, the curriculum needed to teach people how to work collaboratively at problem-solving.
“The Click programme was a great opportunity to participate in a debate that is troubling a lot of people and is going to have a profound impact on how we work in the future,” Professor Luckin said.
“So much is still misunderstood about how AI works, and the levels to which we control its development. It is important to highlight these issues to help allay people’s fears, but also to help inform them about how they should prepare for the workplace of the future, and the skills they will need.”
*The episodes featuring Professor Luckin can be found on the following links, for 11 months from the date of broadcast: