40% of jobs will be impacted by AI, says KPMG

New report concludes that 2.5% of all work-based tasks will be automated by AI, increasing UK productivity by 1.2% and £31bn. But it will also dramatically impact the way we all work. 

A comprehensive new report by professional services network KPMG and partners at the University of Cambridge examines the impact of generative AI on automating creative and routine roles in the workplace. The authors of Generative AI and the UK labour market were keen to see what effect this would have on the UK’s labour market and economic growth.

hand, robot, human

‘We do not anticipate the introduction of AI to lead to falls in overall employment in the long term,’ conclude the authors. About half of the automation of tasks will be offset by new tasks involved in managing the new technology. Employers and employees will need to adapt ways of working to make best use of the new technology. 

For example, rather than researching and then writing a piece of content from scratch, the report suggests staff will now be employed to guide and edit AI-generated content. 

That’s a pertinent example because, in breaking down the kinds of task and occupation likely to be most affected by AI, the report concludes that 43% of tasks currently undertaken by authors, writers and translators will be most automated. 

But a wide range of work will be affected. Programmers and software development professionals (26% of all tasks) and public relations professionals and communications directors (25%) are also high up the list. Writing programs and compiling documentation could all be automated in future. 

Overall, some 2.5% of all tasks could be automated. This seems modest but, says the report, would mean a saving in working time equivalent to 670,000 employees – with a significant impact on productivity and economic output. 

Professor Per Ola Kristensson, from the Centre for Human Inspired Artificial Intelligence at the University of Cambridge, says: ‘AI has the potential to automate many tedious tasks, improving the quality of both the work itself and people’s working conditions, thereby potentially allowing workers to be more productive, creative and expressive by allowing them to focus on core tasks.  

‘A key challenge to unlock this potential lies in understanding how to design AI-bestowed systems that allow workers and AI functions to work in tandem in productive teams to achieve shared goals. We have seen in prior attempts to introduce automation to workplaces, such as in manufacturing and air-traffic control, that successful automation relies on careful system design that understands the capabilities and limitations of humans, AI, and the integrated resulting system as a whole. This requires a systems approach to design, which is poorly understood at the moment.’ 

The report includes sections on the wider social and economic implications of generative AI, admitting that the rapidly developing technology poses a serious challenge for regulators. The report also warns that the consequences of widespread use of such tools ‘are inherently unpredictable and have the potential to create real harm.’ It particularly warns about the dangers of inaccurate or misleading content online. 

In related news, Bild, the largest-selling newspaper in Europe has announced cuts of €100m and an estimated 200 jobs, with further cuts to come as it explores ‘the opportunities of artificial intelligence.’ 

Photo by geralt


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