Shiny blue brain

AI poses a threat to British jobs, warns Bank of England’s chief economist

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The future of thousands of British jobs are under threat from artificial intelligence (AI), according to the Bank of England’s chief economist.

Andy Haldane said the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution will see “the machine replacing humans doing thinking things”.

“The first three industrial revolutions have been about largely machines replacing humans doing principally manual tasks, whereas the fourth will be different.

“All of a sudden it will be the machine replacing humans doing thinking things, as well as doing things,” Haldane told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

His comments follow the creation of an MP-led commission earlier this month that is monitoring the impact of automation on jobs. 

Haldane said that the “hollowing out” in the past could be on a greater scale in the future.

His comments echo those of the Bank’s Governor, Mark Carney, who has previously spoken about large-scale technological disruption to the jobs market.

Haldane added: “Given that the scale of job loss, job displacement, is likely to be at least as large as that of the first three industrial revolutions, we will need even greater numbers of new jobs to be created in the future if we are not to suffer this longer-term feature called technological unemployment.

“It has not been a feature of the past, but could it possibly be a feature of the future? I think that is a much more open question than at any previous point possibly in history.”

The potential threat posed to human society by artificial intelligence has become an increasingly hot topic for public discussion and it shows little sign of cooling down.

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