AI could eliminate 250,000 public sector jobs within 15 years

We keep hearing about how robots or AI are set to replace humans in employment roles as we move into the next decade, and another claim has popped up on this front, predicting that almost 250,000 jobs in the public sector will get this treatment.

According to Reform, a think-tank organisation, over the next 15 or so years a massive amount of admin staff could be replaced by switching over to websites and AI chat bots (of the sort which have become much talked about over the last year or so – for example with Skype).

The prediction for the year 2030 sees 130,000 public sector admin staff being replaced by bots, which is the vast majority of those workers down at Whitehall – with claimed savings to the tune of £2.6 billion annually.

The rest of the quarter of a million roles would come from cutting admin staff in the NHS (90,000) and replacing receptionists in GP practices across the UK (24,000) with similar website/chat bot systems. That could lead to a further saving of £1.7 billion, so total savings of such automation are projected to be well over the £4 billion mark.

Doctor... who?

More broadly, the think-tank didn’t just talk about automation of admin jobs in the health sector, but also more highly-skilled roles such as doctors, citing the possibility of machines performing more accurate diagnoses and potentially some routine surgical procedures.

As ever, of course, those machines will need maintaining and folks will have to be employed in that respect, although when it comes to automated chat bots, any maintenance will be very minimal compared to the number of jobs involved and the cost of running the system in place now.

As we've discussed before, plenty of jobs are under threat from the likes of bots and AI, including self-driving cars challenging the employment of taxi drivers, robots replacing factory workers (as already seen with car manufacturers), and even the prospect of AI writers, butchers and plenty more…

Via: Sky News

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).