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The impact of artificial intelligence on employment

Technological development, and in particular digitalisation, has major implications for labour markets. Assessing its impact will be crucial for developing policies that promote efficient labour markets for the benefit of workers, employers and societies as a whole.

By: Date: July 31, 2018 Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy

This contribution is a chapter of the book Work in the Digital Age, from the Policy Network, published by Rowman & Littlefield International Ltd.

Looking at the labour displacement and productivity effects of AI on employment, the author argues that middle-level jobs that require routine manual and cognitive skilled are the ones that are most at risk. In the long run, initial labour displacement effects of jobs with routinised manual or cognitive skills, as in previous industrial revolutions, will be compensated for by the growth in non-routine jobs at the high and low end of the economy.

However, the speed of change today is significantly faster than it was in the past. The author focuses on the growth of machine learning and improved machine performance and explains how these advancements are produced through the development of socalled ‘deep neural networks’ that are inspired by the architecture of the human brain. Although these are still very far from achieving the level of complexity associated with the human brain, on very specific tasks machines have outperformed humans.

The author draws attention to the nexus between what is possible, and which firms will be willing to invest to implement these technologies. The introduction of multifunctional robots has been most extensive in the EU, followed by the US and China. The sectors that have adopted these with the greatest enthusiasm include car production, and plastic and chemical production, where job displacement effects will be felt the most.

Policymakers will need to develop a framework of rules for the operation of machines and AI systems. This should involve collective consultation with affected parties and experts, and a comprehensive debate on the regulation of the liability, safety, security and privacy of these technologies, alongside the updating of relevant skills and training programmes working with these new technologies.

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Blog Post

Artificial intelligence’s great impact on low and middle-skilled jobs

Artificial intelligence and machine learning will significantly transform low-skilled jobs that have not yet been negatively affected by past technological change.

By: Sybrand Brekelmans and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 29, 2020
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Past Event

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The role of AI in healthcare

How can AI help us fight through a pandemic crisis?

Speakers: Dimitris Bertsimas, Georgios Petropoulos, Effy Vayena and Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 23, 2020
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Working Paper

Occupational change, artificial intelligence and the geography of EU labour markets

From 2002 up to 2009, the economies of European Union countries went through a skill upgrading, rather than a polarisation between low-skill and high-skill jobs. After 2009, this changed, with declining real wages and a significant increase in the share of workers in low-skill jobs. This assessment evaluates these changes in connection with labour market variables, population densities and the emergence of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

By: Sybrand Brekelmans and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 15, 2020
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Rationale and limitations of SURE

This event will discuss SURE, a new European Union instrument for temporary ‘Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency'

Speakers: Roel Beetsma, Elena Carletti, Grégory Claeys and Gilles Mourre Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 15, 2020
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An alternative mobile operating environment?

Walking the wire: we discuss risks and benefits involved for the EU should it embark on developing a new smartphone operating system.

Speakers: Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, J. Scott Marcus, Renato Nazzini, Peter Stuckmann and Andreas Zimmer Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: April 29, 2020
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Find my virus: Mobilising AI and big data to fight COVID-19

At this event, the panellists will discuss the role of AI and big data in the fight against the coronavirus crisis.

Speakers: J. Scott Marcus, Alex Sandy Pentland, Georgios Petropoulos and Marietje Schaake Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: April 2, 2020
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How COVID-19 is laying bare inequality

COVID-19 is laying bare socio-economic inequalities and could exacerbate them in the near future. The virus is a risk factor particularly for those at the lower end of the income distribution, who are vulnerable to the interaction of the shock with income, socio-economic and urban inequalities.

By: Enrico Bergamini Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: March 31, 2020
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Artificial intelligence in the fight against COVID-19

Artificial intelligence can help fight the coronavirus through applications including population screening, notifications of when to seek medical help and tracking how infection spreads. The COVID-19 outbreak has triggered intense work on such applications, but it will take time before results become visible.

By: Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: March 23, 2020
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Big data versus COVID-19: opportunities and privacy challenges

All available resources need to be brought to bear on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. To what extent can digital technology help? What risks are there in using big data to combat COVID-19, and what policies can mitigate any limitations that these risks impose?

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: March 23, 2020
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Opinion

Europe may be the world’s AI referee, but referees don’t win

The EU needs to invest in homegrown technology.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 19, 2020
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Can hybrid threats disrupt the financial system?

From cashless payments to digital banking, finance has become intangible and global. But, while speed and convenience have made our international transactions easier, have we become more vulnerable? How can the EU respond to the increased risk of hybrid threats? This week, Nicholas Barrett is joined by Jukka Savolainen, Director of Community of Interest “Vulnerabilities and Resilience” at the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, and Maria Demertzis, to discuss the risks that hybrid threats pose to the financial system.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Finance & Financial Regulation Date: February 17, 2020
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The EU's plan to catch up on artificial intelligence

While the US and China have been setting the pace when it comes to Artificial Intelligence, the European Union seems to be lagging behind. What are the Commission's plans to finally catch up? Will AI increase the gap between big and small companies? This week, Nicholas Barrett is joined by Julia Anderson and Guntram Wolff to discuss the EU's plan for AI.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: February 14, 2020
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