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AI and the Future of Work: A UCL and British Academy Collaboration

an image of the AI & Future of Work text from UCL Public Policy, UCL Grand Challenges and the British Academy

Artificial intelligence (AI) brings opportunities and uncertainties for the future of work, and there is currently a widely acknowledged digital skills gap in the UK. Enabling and upskilling the workforce to take full advantage of AI will be vital in both a post-Brexit and post-COVID-19 world. However, there remains little consensus on the ways that AI could or should intersect with work, or the place of AI in the wider political, economic and social discourse. Likewise, questions remain as to how Government will be able to support the investment in lifelong skills and training that will be required to shape AI for the benefit of all.

AI is only one of the factors that will cause major changes in the nature of work over the coming decades, and it is not the first time that work has undergone a transformation related to technology. For example, changes due to AI will sit alongside changes related to climate change, as well as the immediate impacts of COVID-19 and the UK exiting the EU.  The role of AI should be considered in this wider context of overlapping, interdependent factors to ensure an equitable transformation. 

This collaboration between UCL and the British Academy seeks to ask critical questions for policy, business, practitioners and society on the ways in which AI could and should impact on the future quality and equity of work in the UK. The project seeks to broaden the debate surrounding the interactions of AI and work including on equality in work, assessing the impacts at a range of scales (both geographically and across industry sectors), engaging those with little interest in technology or who feel disenfranchised, and determining what ‘good work’ looks like. 

The Working Well with AI Podcast 
working well with AI


In this new series from UCL Grand Challenges, UCL Public Policy and the British Academy, we discuss how AI is changing the world of work. As we emerge from a global pandemic we’re rethinking how we work, what sort of work we value, and what we need for the future.

Across five episodes, host Prof Rose Luckin, UCL IOE, discusses the future impacts of AI on the ways we work with guests from industry, policy and academia. From what we consider to be good work and how to engage the disenfranchised, to the skills we might all need in the future, and what this all means for the future of research on the topic.

Listen to all five eposides through UCL Minds, the UCL soundcloud or other podcast providers. 

Briefings and Case Studies

This series of papers explore critical questions around how AI could and should impact the future of work, for business, policy and research. Each series brings together expert opinion from across the UK to consider topics around, quality and equity of work, disenfranchisment, skills and levelling up.

A complimentary series of case study cards explore the rainging impacts of AI on different types of work.

Blogs


In these blogs, UCL’s Helena Hollis and Cornelia Evers explore what “good” work means alongside AI.

Other outputs 

Additional material produced through the AI and the future of work project which may be of interest.

Project team 

British Academy

Anna Bradshaw (now at DfE)

Alex Mankoo 

Adam Wright 


UCL 

Felipe Barajas, UCL Global Disability Hub

Evie Calder, UCL Research 

Cornelia Evers, UCL European & International Social & Political Studies

Helena Hollis, UCL Information Studies

Sophie Mepham, UCL Grand Challenges

Em O’Sullivan, UCL Science and Technology Studies

Dr James Paskins, UCL Grand Challenges

Dr Olivia Stevenson, UCL Public Policy

Katherine Welch, UCL Research
 

With special thanks to our UCL Academic Co-chairs: Professor Rose Luckin (UCL IoE) and Professor Jack Stilgoe (UCL STS)