This report by the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee focuses on automation and the future of work in the UK, exploring how AI and automation changes and augments jobs as well as replaces some jobs with entirely new ones.
The problem for the UK labour market and our economy is not that we have too many robots in the workplace, but that we have too few. In 2015 the UK had just 10 robots for every million hours worked, compared with 167 in Japan. By 2017, we represented just 0.6 percent of industrial robotics shipments. The UK led the First Industrial Revolution because we embraced new technologies and the opportunities that they create. The risk we face is not a robot takeover of our workplaces, but that our lack of adoption and the reluctance of businesses and the Government to lead the way in the Fourth Industrial Revolution means other countries will seize the initiative and take advantage of new technologies, not least the growth and jobs they bring while we are left behind.
We cannot dismiss fears about technology replacing workers, but BEIS aims to urge policymakers, businesses and the public to think about the alternatives. If the UK falls further behind in productivity and the adoption of new technologies, then future investment decisions will not follow. The UK must adopt automation more rapidly to increase productivity.