Robots and artificial intelligence set to take jobs in the Midlands and the North of England

29th Jan 2018

Customer-facing roles in shops, administration and warehouses could soon be taken up by automated robots and artificial intelligence (AI), a new report has revealed.

Conducted by the Centre for Cities, the report suggests that nine areas could lose more than a quarter of jobs by 2030. The UK government has previously said that it is committed to helping people secure roles with a national retraining scheme, in response to the rise of AI.

Jo Causon, CEO of The Institute of Customer Service, says that consumers will have questions about automation. “Technology is becoming ever more intuitive, anticipating what we may need or be interested in based on our previous behaviour. This is service as it should be – making relevant suggestions and giving us prompts that smooth the way in our time-pressured lives.”

While technology can bring many benefits, Causon is clear on one aspect of it: “Don’t confuse intuitive technology with an understanding of human behaviour and emotions: there is a limit to what the technology can do.”

The report suggests that Mansfield is likely to lose the most jobs to automation – around 29% by 2030 – with Sunderland and Wakefield also losing out, with a 28.5% job loss.

Sales and retail assistants are the jobs most at risk from robots and AI. The report suggests that 19% of these roles could be lost to automation by 2030.

After Amazon launched a new store without cashiers, the tide might already be turning. Causon writes in her blog about the rise of AI in customer-facing roles, stating: “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

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