Document Abstract

The age of automation: artificial intelligence, robotics and the future of low-skilled work

Looks at the potential effects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics on the labour market in terms of the number of jobs which might be lost and how the nature of jobs might change. Uses government data, a survey of UK business leaders and interviews with employers from different industries to inform the study. Outlines the background to the development of AI and robotics. Investigates the different ways technology can impact on work. Discusses which occupations are most at risk of automation noting that low-skilled work is at most risk especially in areas such as retail and logistics. Explores the five dimensions of automation: job availability; recruitment; pay; experience; and consumer power. Considers that we have a choice in how automation affects jobs, but that the UK must accelerate its take up of AI and robotics if it is to increase its productivity. Suggests that new technologies could phase out mundane jobs and create more human-centric roles. Considers interventions which could bring about inclusive automation such as: setting up an ethical framework to guide the behaviour of AI and robotics engineers; creating personal training accounts to aid life-long learning; and shifting the burden of taxation away from labour and towards capital.


This document is not available to download directly from Research Online. Wherever possible a web link has been included to access the document via the publisher’s website - please check below. If not, the document can be obtained directly from the source organisation or publisher. Skills Development Scotland cannot guarantee that the organisation will not charge for the document.

Web link

View more documents

Other page options

Publication information

Dellot, Benedict; Wallace-Stephens, Benedict
Ref No:
RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce)

Download Adobe Reader

Notes for Idox Members

Get the latest updates from Skills Development Scotland