AI and the Future of Work

AI, ‘compulsory’ ethics and regulation are big this month. The DCMS Select Committee has called for an obligatory code overseen by an independent regulator. This could have significant implications for oversight of AI-related technology in the work space, as we discuss in our paper, launched at the 2019 Responsible Tech conference. The digital giants may have shown interest in soft codes, but news that Facebook tracks and ‘blacklists’ employees for speaking out against the boss is a sharp reminder that bad behaviour often starts at home - and there is a need to move beyond codes and principles for ethical use.

Equality through transition

We’re pleased to announce some fantastic partners for our Equality Through Transition programme: The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Equality and Human Rights Commission and Data Justice Lab. The programme includes setting up an Equality Task-force and the development of a fairness impact assessment.  

Lessons from abroad

We’ve seen EU countries race ahead in preparation for the 4IR this month. IFOW Co-Chair Chris Pissarides gave the keynote speech to the Danish PM and Ministers at the final meeting of the Danish Disruption Council on 7 February. Keen to keep learning and collaboration going through Brexit, we’re pleased to share his IFOW-LSE presentation here

IFOW has met authors of Germany’s Work 4.0, to learn about follow-up actions including a new think-tank embedded within the Ministry of Labour, compulsory pension insurance for the self-employed and an adult learning initiative involving pilots of specific tripartite commitments. Pissarides has reviewed the preliminary results of the Finnish basic income trial, noting evidence that the income may have increased the wellbeing of participants without acting as a disincentive to work. We joined launch of the OECD report and dashboard on adult learning which draws on case studies, such as the Swedish Transformation Fund, and identifies priorities for countries. The UK’s are: coverage, inclusivity and financing.

Brexit, technology and the future of work

Our analysis of the ‘double disruption’ of Brexit and the 4IR on the UK labour market with the LSE’s CEP indicates that in-work poverty and regional inequalities may be exacerbated in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, and that recent technological progress may be reversed. To counter these risks, the Government may wish to consider the advantages of drawing from the models of the cross-department Disruption Council and Work 4.0, both run with social partners. The new London Good Work Commission and 4-day week alliance is more evidence that, whatever the outcome of Brexit, collaborative pilots and social partnerships are the face of the future.

Social policy innovation

We joined Berlin think tank SNV’s cutting-edge workshop on AI as they develop a new type of social policy innovation which combines traditional approaches with design thinking and foresight methods. Drawing on the workshop and training at the RCA, we’ll soon pilot our own method of social policy innovation, designed with Trustee Dr Nadia Danhash and RCA’s Professor Myerson, in the retail and transport sectors.

Paula Hagan