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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: and 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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Podcast

Podcast

Are robots taking our jobs?

What will be the impact of automation on the economy? Bruegel's own Giuseppe Porcaro discusses with Aaron Benanav, Laura Nurski, and Alexis Moraitis.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 20, 2021
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Blog Post

Will European Union recovery spending be enough to fill digital investment gaps?

The recovery facility will boost digital transformation, but questions remain whether it will be sufficient to achieve Europe’s digital ambitions.

By: Zsolt Darvas, J. Scott Marcus and Alkiviadis Tzaras Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 20, 2021
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Upcoming Event

Sep
2
14:30

Brave new digital industrial policy

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 2 - In this session our speakers will dicuss innovation and digitalisation.

Speakers: Francesca Bria, Kerstin Jorna, Marietje Schaake and Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Palais des Académies, Rue Ducale 1, Brussels
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Upcoming Event

Sep
3
11:45

Academic lecture: International technology competition

Bruegel Annual Meetings, Day 3 - On the final day of the Annual Meetings, our Director Guntram Wolf sits with Keyu Jin to discuss international competition policy.

Speakers: Keyu Jin, J. Scott Marcus and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Palais des Académies, Rue Ducale 1, Brussels
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Policy Contribution

A new direction for the European Union’s half-hearted semiconductor strategy

The EU needs a more targeted strategy to increase its presence in this strategic and thriving sector, building on its existing strengths, while accommodating its relatively low domestic needs.

By: Niclas Poitiers and Pauline Weil Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 15, 2021
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Past Event

Past Event

Investment firepower for the recovery: a conversation with Philippe Donnet, CEO of Assicurazioni Generali

At this event the CEO of Assicurazioni Generali, Philippe Donnet will be in conversation with Guntram Wolff, Director of Bruegel.

Speakers: Philippe Donnet and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 8, 2021
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Blog Post

Designing a hybrid work organisation

Post-pandemic hybrid work models should be carefully planned, taking into account individual and organisational needs.

By: Laura Nurski Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: July 5, 2021
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Policy Contribution

Commercialisation contracts: European support for low-carbon technology deployment

To cut the cost of decarbonisation significantly, the best solution would be to provide investors with a predictable carbon price that corresponds to the envisaged decarbonisation pathway.

By: Ben McWilliams and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: July 1, 2021
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Blog Post

Workers can unlock the artificial intelligence revolution

Employers and artificial intelligence developers should ensure new technologies work for workers by making them trustworthy, easy to use and valuable in day-to-day work.

By: Mia Hoffmann and Laura Nurski Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 30, 2021
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Podcast

Podcast

The skills of the future

What challenges and opportunities does technology bring to the labour market?

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 23, 2021
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Working Paper

Platform mergers and antitrust

This paper sets out a framework for addressing competition concerns arising from acquisitions in big platform ecosystems. This is a June 2021 update of the same paper published in January 2021.

By: Geoffrey Parker, Georgios Petropoulos and Marshall Van Alstyne Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 15, 2021
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Blog Post

The coming productivity boom

AI and other digital technologies have been surprisingly slow to improve economic growth. But that could be about to change.

By: Erik Brynjolfsson and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 10, 2021
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