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Artificial intelligence – impact on income

How will the rapid advances in artificial intelligence affect your future income? A handful of countries and cities have begun to experiment with possible solutions to the employment problems posed by automation. When jobs are increasingly displaced by artificial intelligence impact on income will be profound. How will your job and income shape up against AI?

How many jobs risk being replaced by AI?

In 2013, Oxford University’s Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne  studied the risk of computerisation for 702 occupations, they estimated that 47% of workers in America occupied jobs at high risk of potential automation. Specifically, they highlighted workers in transport and logistics and office support “are likely to be substituted by computer capital”, and that many workers in sales and services (such as cashiers, counter and rental clerks, telemarketers and accountants) also faced a high risk of computerisation. They concluded that “recent developments in machine learning will put a substantial share of employment, across a wide range of occupations, at risk in the near future.”

In their 2016 report, Frey and Osborne continued to examine the future impact of technology on the global economy, quoting the World Bank estimate of jobs at risk of automisation:

  • the OECD average 57%
  • United States 47%
  • United Kingdom 35%
  • China 77%
  • India 69%

 How will job and income loss be managed?

If the above number of jobs around the world are at risk of automisation from advances in artificial intelligence, impact on income will be profound. What plans are in place to manage the changes ahead?

Your basic income met with no obligation to work

Whereas the US and others continue to discuss the issues, Finland is ahead of the curve with their two year universal basic income experiment. After debating the pros and cons of a number of possible approaches Finland has elected to pilot a small, two thousand person trial, which will pay an unconditional, basic income. Introduced in January 2017 the basic income is being paid to 25 – 58 year olds who are currently unemployed. The basic income of 560 euros is paid to recipients regardless of whether they find paid employment or not (additional income is added to the basic income rather than replacing it). The Finns hope the pilot scheme will incentivise the jobless to experiment with different income generating ideas and reduce the current unemployment level of 8.1%.  In a system that currently reduces benefits when claimants earn even a small amount, the system could release people from such disincentives to work.

Finland isn’t the only country beginning to consider a basic income (sometimes called universal income) as a solution to automisation. Canada, Utrecht and other cities across the Netherlands are also set to pilot various types of basic income experiments.

What’s it like to receive a basic income?

In June 2016, Frans Kerver of Groningen in the Netherlands was selected by the Dutch organization MIES (an organisation that seeks to promote a basic income in the Netherlands), to receive a basic income for twelve months. Frans was chosen because of the huge amount of community work he was already doing to support the people of Groningen, including copywriting and a community agricultural project. The basic income has meant that Frans sees much more of his wife and three children, Frans also describes feeling more satisfied in his work, he explains, “It’s better when you work a little less and have some leisure time with family and friends…I think it keeps you fresh.”

How you can begin to future proof your income

The 2016 Oxford Martin School report, Technology at Work, identified three areas that currently present difficulties for automative technology. Described as “bottlenecks to automation” the three areas are:

  • creative intelligence
  • perception and manipulation
  • social intelligence

Maybe it’s time to consider your current skill set in terms of these three bottlenecks to automation? Are there new projects you’ve been considering that could take advantage of your creativity or social intelligence?  There’s no time like the present to begin exploring new ways of developing your abilities to keep ahead of the changes to employment and income that artificial intelligence will deliver.





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