Robot Overlords To Displace 250,000 Human Workers In UK By 2030

The world is a rapidly changing place and that will always be the case. Unfortunately for our friends in the U.K. who might be working in a public sector job, change could precede unemployment. That's because there is a push to replace nearly 250,000 public sector workers in the U.K. with robots over the next 15 years, according to a new report by Reform, a thinktank focused on improving public performance within affordable budgets.

While the concept of robotic workers and automated services is not new, Reform is pretty harsh on the downsides of human workers. It points out that "public services fail when employees fail." It also notes that the opposite is true, that public services succeed when its working practicing are successful, but argues that the best way to improve workforce productivity is by pulling the rug out from under the existing system and make better use of technology.

Image Source: Flickr (Robbie Sproule)

"The report finds that the current workforce is a legacy of past approaches. It is built around siloed attitudes of yesterday’s governments and fails to embrace technology and new ways of working to meet users’ needs in the most effective ways. A traditionalist mentality fails to cultivate a culture of change: mistakes are covered up, risk-aversion is rife and leaders have not built the workforce around the needs of users. That there is one receptionist for every GP should be alarming in a world in which online banking is the norm," Reform argues.

Reform wants to automate administrative roles where deemed appropriate, which would be in a lot of places—the organization estimates that its approach would eliminate at least 248,860 administration positions filled by flesh and bone workers. That includes some law enforcement positions.

"Various companies aim to develop artificial intelligence that can diagnose conditions more accurately than humans. The UK should evaluate drones and facial-recognition technology as alternatives to current policing practice, while recognizing concerns about the holding of people’s images," Reform states.

The organization sees no bounds to replacing human workers with automated processes. It notes that "even the most complex roles stand to be automated," along with doctors and nurses. This transition would not only improve efficiency and quality of service, but ultimately save the public sector billions of dollars.

Is anyone else getting an eerie flashback of the Twilight Zone episode The Obsolete Man? We won't spoil it, but that episode doesn't end so well for the decision makers in charge of deciding who still has worth and who does not.
Tags:  robotics, Technology