In Brief

UK 'unprepared for robot threat to jobs', say MPs

Artificial intelligence is the future, says parliamentary committee, but we are still a long way from Star Wars

Britain is not prepared to face a future where artificial intelligence (AI) and automation become a part of everyday life, says the parliamentary committee on science and technology.

Citing examples such as driverless cars and intelligent software assistants, the MPs said that while "science fiction is slowly becoming science fact", so far "government leadership in the fields of robotics and AI has been lacking".

Intelligent robots and software are likely to revolutionise the workplace, but the MPs' report warns the government has no strategy to prepare workers for the changes.

It has long been suggested that jobs currently carried out by humans could one day be replaced by automation, says Alphr, but the committee emphasises that there is also scope for job creation as the fields of AI and robotics expand.

Acting chairwoman Dr Tania Mathias urged the government to "respond with a readiness" to anticipate the challenges posed by increasingly refined technology and make the most of the opportunities it affords.

Although the committee acknowledged there is still "some way to go before we see systems and robots as portrayed in films like Star Wars", it added it is crucial the government focuses on "developing a new skillset for the future".

"This requires a commitment by the government to ensure that our education and training systems are flexible, so that they can adapt as opportunities and demands on the workforce change," the report said.

The committee "also warned more needs to be done to tackle the social and ethical problems posed by robots", Sky News reports.

Technology firms have already begun to explore these concerns, making it "disappointing" that the government is yet to publish its own digital strategy, said the MPs.

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