HPE Blog, UK & Ireland

AI & the Future of Work: Have we got the right tools?

The future of work is changing, fast. AI is making waves in all kinds of industries, but despite the incredible results we're able to achieve, when it comes to the world of work, there are a lot of misconceptions...

Today, host Michael Bird explores AI and the future of work, from job displacement to educating the next generation. HPE Chief Technologist Matt Armstrong-Barnes talks machine learning in mission critical medicine; Google's Toju Duke explains how dodgy datasets cause bias; and Mary Towers shares the Trade Union Congress' fascinating findings about technology managing people. Plus, Simon-Peyton Jones, chair of the Computing At School group and the National Centre for Computing Education, fills us in on the UK's ambitious new computer science curriculum. 

AI and job displacement: how the pandemic has changed our industries

Job displacement is a very real phenomenon. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the implementation of automation and robotics in the workplace, but... has it all been too much too soon?

HPE Chief Technologist Matt Armstrong-Barnes clears up some myths around the capabilities of today's AI, and explains how it's transforming industries for the better, albeit a little quicker than anticipated. Google's Toju Duke explains why incomplete datasets can lead to unintended consequences in hiring algorithms, and why transparency and explainability should be top of any organisation's agenda.

Technology managing people: the worker experience in an automated world

When it comes to the world of work, biased hiring algorithms are just the tip of the ethical iceberg. In November 2020, the UK's Trade Union Congress published the results of an in-depth survey of trade unions in a report titled Technology Managing People. Employment Rights Policy Officer Mary Towers shares some telling statistics about the extent to which technology is being used to make decisions in the workplace, and the detrimental effect it's having on individuals.

At the heart of the debate are questions around how value human beings, and the TUC has identified a number of challenges around data privacy, transparency, explainability and human rights. It's vital to recognise the worker experience in the drive for efficiency, and the TUC hopes to empower workers to take back control of their data and their workplaces.

Computing at school: the next generation of empowered tech users

A popular, though unsupported, estimate predicts that 65% of children entering primary school today will have completely new jobs that don't exist yet. With the number of Computer Science graduates dwindling in the UK in recent years, and the computer science education at school reduced to lessons on how to use PowerPoint... how will the next generation be prepared for the challenges they'll face?

Microsoft Computer Science Researcher Simon Peyton-Jones has been instrumental in enacting massive reforms in the UK's computer science curriculum. Alongside a guerrilla group of parents and education activists, Simon formed the Computing At School (CAS) group with one mission in mind: for computer science to be embedded as a core subject for children in all stages of education.

CAS worked with the Royal Society to reimagine the national curriculum which has now been implemented across the UK. With the government creating The National Centre for Computing Education in 2018 to provide teacher training, resources and expertise, the UK is on a journey to give children the skills they need for the future of work. However, the success will depend on collaboration from all corners: teachers, schools, senior leaders at schools, professionals, and employers.

Key takeaways:

  • The world of work in changing, fast. With COVID as an accelerator, the exciting opportunities of AI to advance society are profound.
  • Beware technology managing people. In the gold-rush for efficiency, human rights and wellbeing, and the worker voice must not be ignored.
  • The future of work is ours to design, and educating the next generation for the challenges they face requires collaboration across all levels of society.

Links and Resources:

What is machine learning? | HPE

Revolutionising healthcare with Artificial Intelligence | HPE

Machines and AI Are Taking Over Jobs Lost to Covid | Alana Semuels, TIME

The Trade Union Congress

Technology Managing People - The Worker Experience | TUC

The Ethical Institute for AI and Machine Learning

Why we should teach children to code | Simon Peyton-Jones

Computing At School

Get Involved | Teach Computing

Our Vision | Teach Computing

UK Computer Science National Curriculum

Matt Armstrong-Barnes | LinkedIn

Toju Duke | LinkedIn

Kirk Bresniker | Twitter

Michael Bird
Hewlett Packard Enterprise


Follow me on Twitter: @miclbrd
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About the Author


I'm a Digital Marketing Manager for UK and Ireland at HPE and I've been working in the IT industry for nearly 10 years. I'm fascinated by technology and the impact it has on organisations and us as individuals.

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