'Humans forgotten'

Unite criticises new report on use of Artificial Intelligence in public services

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Unite has criticised a new report on the ethics of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in public services for failing to discuss the real threat to public sector jobs.


A Unite analysis of the threat of automation on jobs has found that health and local authorities are at high risk of automation. A report by Frey and Osborne in 2015 estimated that 35 per cent of UK jobs could be lost to automation.


The new report entitled Artificial Intelligence and Public Standards led by Lord Evans of Weardale brings into focus how artificial intelligence will change the provision of public services but does not address the threat the technology poses to jobs.


Unite executive officer Sharon Graham said, “A report on robots in the public sector has forgotten about the humans. It’s astounding that an in-depth report on Artificial Intelligence and ethics in the public sector has been produced without any consideration of the risk new technologies could have on public sector workers’ livelihoods. There are over 5 million workers employed in the public sector including the NHS and local authorities where many jobs are at a high risk of automation.


“Unite is developing a political and industrial strategy to build a future that works. New technology is going to generate a lot of opportunities but there are also threats. We will fight to make sure the benefits are shared and used to do things that help public sector workers and their families, such as reducing working time without loss of pay,” she added.


Unite is a union that campaigns for and delivers better pay and conditions for its members. Unite is winning at work based on three core values. Secure Work: fighting for jobs and job security, Strong Voice: a union which is a respected voice at work and Decent Pay: a union focused on pay and conditions. Find out more here.


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