Guest Blog by Rupal Karia, Head of Public and Private Sector at Fujitsu UK & Ireland
If you had to pick the one word synonymous with the 21st century, ‘change’ would be it. And it is a change that has been driven significantly by technology. But what’s important to note here is that there’s no sign of this slowing down.
As digital transformation continues to gather speed, this pace of change is set to increase within the next decade. Fortunately, it is a change that consumers and businesses are excited about, with half of the UK public and 72% of business leaders saying they are excited by the way tech is changing British life.
While the outlook is vastly positive, there is a note of caution for technology providers: particularly when it comes to the implications that emerging technology is likely to have on jobs.
Take the latest news that more than six million workers in the UK fear being replaced by machines as a prime example of this.
But, instead of looking at how technologies can reduce jobs, we should be looking at how they make way for employees to spend more times focusing on their ‘customers’, ‘clients’ or ‘patients’. Doing this will allow them to better provide a more human approach to their job.
The ‘AI doctor’ is a perfect example of where the blurring lines between technology and people are taking place: AI doctors give human doctors more time to focus on those more complicated cases, whilst the technology can be prioritised to focus on general health issues which can be more easily managed.
The creation of new jobs
A digital-first nation has meant that a huge amount of jobs are being – and will be created – in lieu of those that are at risk of disappearing.
One example of where the creation of new roles will be is in the transport industry.
Although the future of transport is notoriously difficult to predict, we are seeing a clear move towards increasingly connected and autonomous cars becoming the norm in just a few short years’ time. For one, this presents an exciting challenge for the future of motorways.
If you are a driver, I’m sure you’ll be familiar with those frustrating moments where you’re sat in choc-o-block traffic, whilst the lanes going in the opposite direction are completely empty.
In the future, we expect to see a massive shift in how this is managed. For example, if a huge amount of traffic is coming into London on a Monday morning at 7am, transport operators will be able to allocate more lanes to that direction, than for those leaving London, helping to ensure traffic is better distributed and more efficiently run.
But where do people come into this? Well, you are going to need people in real-time to manage this demand, ensuring that the transition between switching lanes is smooth.
A prosperous economy
For the nation to remain competitive, it is vital that new jobs are created which will help make a better society. Emerging technologies such as AI and driverless cars are completely transforming Britain. But for these changes to remain positive, there is an urgent need for technology companies to take responsibility and ensure innovation is helping all people from all corners of the UK.
In our latest report this notion was strongly echoed by the general public: where advances in technology do displace jobs, almost two-thirds (60 percent) believe technology companies are responsible for reskilling displaced workers.
This might be through partnerships with education institutions to ensure graduates are equipped with the right skills for the workplace or for those already in their career; this could be continuous internal training programmes that give employees the opportunity to keep their skillset up-to-date and relevant.
If we are to ensure the UK lives up to its digital potential, it is not just the responsibility of the government to educate the public and help them on this journey; the tech sector and UK companies should join forces with the government to ensure the UK remains a global leader in an increasingly digital world.