250,000 UK admin jobs will be taken over by robots by 2030
A Think tank Reform report has revealed that 248,860 public sector jobs could be taken over by AI (artificial intelligence) and automated systems over the next 15 years.
According to Think tank Reform, administrator jobs within the UK’s civil service and public sector may be automated to improve efficiency. The report is based on interviews, data, previous research and Freedom of Information requests, and estimates the changes could save the UK £4bn per year through the reduction of the public sector’s wage bill.
Think tank Reform claims the headcount of the government, police and NHS could be significantly reduced and 24,000 roles in frontline healthcare could be replaced. A Reform representative even stated that “public services could become the next Uber” with the gig economy encouraging further employment of locum doctors and supply teachers.
The report stresses that workforces within public services have been designed to be too hierarchical and “unresponsive to user needs” hence it would be beneficial to replace humans with online processes to complete tasks. One example cited by the report wherein we have already seen this shift is the HMRC which has reduced its admin staff from 96,000 to 60,000 over the last ten years.
Meanwhile robots appear to have already taken control of some jobs in London…
A humanoid robot by the name of Pepper (built in Japan and marketed in the UK) works as a companion in some care homes for the elderly. Pepper has been employed in a meet-and-greet capacity in these care homes, though the robot is also capable of sending dictated emails, reading the news, informing the residents of the day’s menu, as well as providing reminders when it’s time for them to take their medication. Pepper has also been employed by a London estate agent’s office. Though currently restricted to meeting and greeting delegates at conferences and manning reception desks, Pepper’s designers believe the robot’s ability to instantly search the market and provide up-to-date information will soon make her near-ubiquitous to the property market.
Moreover the Royal Navy unveiled the latest addition to Her Majesty’s fleet last September, a drone boat. The Maritime Autonomy Surface Testbed (MAST) is an unmanned craft with speeds of around 60mph and is currently being used for reconnaissance missions.
Similarly the Princess Grace Hospital has adopted a robotic surgery system. The ‘Da Vinci’ gives medics the ability to perform complex and delicate procedures on kidneys, livers, prostates etc. with minimal cutting and whilst providing enhanced imaging. Though the Da Vinci still requires a doctor’s guidance, IBM’s Watson supercomputer in the US has already proven itself to outperform human medics in diagnosis scenarios, which may suggest the Da Vinci won’t be far behind.
In the automotive world, Uber is currently trialling a driverless system in San Francisco, whilst in London a company called Oxbotica are testing out its autonomous cars in Greenwich.
A firm in Islington have also developed autonomous software in the form of ‘Shadow Robot’. Whilst capable of simple tasks such as making coffee and playing the piano, the robot is also being used for agriculture purposes such as urban gardening and fruit-picking.
Within the food and drinks industry a wholly automated bartending system named Makr Shakr has been developed with the ability to create an array of professional-standard cocktails. Conjointly a robotics firm based in Berkeley Square have created ‘Moley’, two robotic arms with a camera installed that records the steps you take in the kitchen to create a meal and then replicates the recipe. Though if it’s a takeaway you’re after, a kebab shop in Greenwich may have the solution. The South-London eatery made history last November by delivering the UK’s first takeaway meal by robot. The six-wheeled rover, built by Starship Technologies for online delivery firm Just Eat sends a text when it has arrived at your front door and is able to transport the equivalent of three full shopping bags in its metal storage compartment to distances of over ten miles.