How AI Will Change the British Workforce

AI in the British Workforce

There is no doubt that AI is going to change the British workforce in many ways. Combined with smart devices connected through the Internet of Things (IoT), GPS, blockchain, and other digital advancements in streamlining work, AI represents huge industrial gains across all UK regions in the near future. In fact, PWC predicts that because of these advancements, England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland can look forward to a 5% GDP growth by 2030.

At the forefront of these economic gains will be the ability of AI to stimulate consumer demand on a national scale. Thanks to increased personalisation, an overall greater choice of products, and other AI-enabled product enhancements, we can expect to see consumer demand grow by up to 8.4% by the time 2030 comes around. This boost to the consumer market – along with augmented labour force productivity through AI automation – are the primary forces that could drive the UK’s GDP up despite the threat of Brexit. With that in mind, it’s unfortunately not all good news.

On the other hand, there’s a particularly huge sector of the workforce which will be badly hit by the rapid development of AI. It is estimated that for as many as 1.2 million employees in the transport/logistics sector, there’s a 67% probability of being replaced by AI as early as 2020. What’s more is that this represents £23.9 billion in annual salaries, a huge chunk of which will most likely be used to further improve existing transport-related AI and its supporting technologies. You need only to look at today’s automated/smart vehicle technologies to see how the driverless vehicle AI of the future will develop and possibly replace millions of human workers.

The technology that will eventually drive autonomous vehicles is already being integrated and developed. Fleets of heavy trucks are now being equipped with GPS and IoT-enabled trackers that collect driving and location data. In a post by Verizon Connect on fleet fuel management they explain that this software improves fuel efficiency through an app that tracks every vehicle’s journey. This allows the driver and fleet company to find the fastest and most efficient delivery routes, provide in-cab alerts to correct wasteful driving behaviour, dispatch nearby technicians for emergencies, and increase overall safety on the road. While these advancements will no doubt help fleet drivers be better at their jobs, the massive amount of data collected by this system will also be used to rapidly advance the development of autonomous driving AI.

Meanwhile, automated commercial forklifts have been available in the UK for quite some time now, with companies like Toyota and Jungheinrich taking the lead in developing programmable, driver-less vehicles for warehousing and other logistics purposes. In relation to this, British grocer Ocado has taken AI-enabled logistics to the next level through its automated robotic warehouse. This is 18 acres (784,080 sq ft) of optimised space ran by 1,100 IoT-enabled cuboid swarm robots, which are controlled by a custom-built 4G network developed by the company. It sorts out items much faster than a human possible could. At the moment the robots work alongside humans, but that could all change in the near future.

None of these technological leaps in the transport/logistics and consumer industry would be possible without AI and its related technologies. This of course includes IoT, which we at VitrX have previously identified as another driving force in the massive digital shift being currently faced by the British workforce. We can only hope that this modern workforce will be up to the task of transforming along with the technologies that are changing the face of the UK’s most vital industries.








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by Alexis Carlson

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