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Tech chats: AI’s impact on jobs with EY’s Richard Goold

In this video interview, we chat with Richard Goold from EY about artificial intelligence and its impact on jobs. Goold explains what the main advantages of AI are, which jobs are particularly at risk from this technology and whether jobs should be protected. He also explores whether AI could actually end up creating more jobs.

Q: Richard, welcome, so our Hot Topic interview today is around artificial intelligence, and I first of all want to ask you what are the main advantages that AI can give to businesses and individuals?

So AI is huge already, there are a large number of startups that are globally looking at this area and one VC said to me recently that every technology company is going to involve machine learning or AI before too long if they’re not already. And, as I say, there are a large number of use cases but, to me, one of the most exciting areas is around data – there’s an exponential amount of data being created and AI enables it to be analysed so the analytics will create new business models and derive value from this big data pool.

Q: Something that is constantly in the headlines is how AI can make some jobs obsolete. Are there some jobs tat are more at risk than others?

Clearly, a combination of technologies – robotics, machine learning, AI is talked about as being a massive threat to employment and for sure there will be some jobs that get displaced I think that other jobs will be created in the same way as there is displacement and typically blue collar type jobs and the more junior jobs within the white collar world I think are at threat, but equally there will be new opportunities created.

Q: Should jobs be protected, and if so, whose responsibility is that? Should it be coming from the government?

Well, fundamentally, I guess I believe in a free market, and therefore talk about protectionism does always give me a bit of an allergic reaction, however, there is a really important ethical debate to be had around all of this and I think that;s a combination of academia and government and business and the populous at large to agree some parameters. But government protectionism, I don’t feel that’s the right place, certainly for this country to go to.

Q: So you’d rather there be more just discussions around it at this stage.

I think that’s the way to go.

Q: Overall, then, could AI conversely end up creating more jobs?

So I think that there will be new roles that will be created and clearly technology is a threat to some existing roles, but at the same time, technology is an opportunity. So a lot of mundane jobs can move to being much more exciting and interesting jobs. And that’s the opportunity, I think, that AI creates.