Robots, AI 'Chatbots' Could Soon Replace 250,000 Jobs by 2030: Report

By Prei Dy, | February 07, 2017

Robots and AI 'chatbots' are poised to replace 250,000 jobs by 2030, according to think tank Reform.

Robots and AI 'chatbots' are poised to replace 250,000 jobs by 2030, according to think tank Reform.

Robots and artificial intelligence may soon replace a quarter of a million jobs in the public sector workers over the next 15 years, according to a report conducted by public services think tank Reform on Monday.

Its 'Work in Progress' report revealed that websites and AI "chatbots" could radically automate the public sector jobs, saving the UK government as much as £2.6 billion ($3.23 billion). It suggested that with the introduction of self-serve websites, technology could soon cut 137,000 administrative civil servants positions, 90,000 NHS administrators, and 24,000 GP receptionists.

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Medical professionals have no escape on falling prey on technology's advancement too. Machines are now beginning to outperform human capabilities particularly on identifying diagnoses and carrying out routine surgical procedures.

Even police authorities and other emergency services can be disrupted as frontline jobs are also already starting to use technology such as drones and facial recognition system to gather data and predict areas greatly at risk from crimes as well as fire.

The report suggested that government offices with seasonal peaks should adapt Uber's 'gig economy', in which flexible temporary staff are only recruited during those peak times. The report criticized that the current workforce failed to embrace technology and innovative ways to meet users' needs in the most effective ways.

"A traditionalists mentality fails to cultivate a culture of change: mistakes are covered up, risk-aversion is rife and leaders have not built the workforce around the needs of users," Reform said.

The report, however, noted that "cutting numbers should not be seen as an end itself," explaining that automation should only replace jobs where it can do a better and more cost-efficient service.

 "Such a rapid advance in the use of technology may seem controversial, and any job losses must be handled sensitively. But the result would be public services that are better, safer, smarter, and more affordable," Alexander Hitchcock, the report's co-author, said.

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