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AI could have as big an impact on jobs as the Industrial Revolution
UK's outgoing chief scientific adviser's warning to the world
The outgoing UK chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, warned that artificial intelligence could be as disruptive as the Industrial Revolution and lead to significant job losses. He said the government should take action now to help workers adapt to the changes. Vallance said AI systems like ChatGPT could replace many jobs, which could mean some people lose their jobs or switch to jobs only humans can do. He pointed to the Industrial Revolution as an example where there were initial economic declines followed by benefits.
“There will be jobs that can be done by AI, which can either mean a lot of people don’t have a job, or a lot of people have jobs that only a human could do.”
While AI poses significant risks, Vallance said it also presents considerable opportunities that should not be overlooked. In medicine, AI could give people more time with their doctors. AI will make many areas of life easier and be incredibly beneficial.
Vallance called for a review of sectors that will be most affected by AI so plans can be made to retrain workers and give them time to adapt to changes. He echoed warnings from Geoffrey Hinton, a pioneer in AI, about ensuring AI does not distort the truth.
He urged preparing for job losses and retraining workers. While AI brings significant benefits, managing risks from unpredictable AI behavior and distorted truth is crucial.
He added that there was also a broader question of managing the risk of “what happens with these things when they start to do things that you really didn’t expect”.