AI Will Not Lead to Massive Job Losses, Says Bank of England Governor

AI Will Not Lead to Massive Job Losses, Says Bank of England Governor

In an interview with the BBC, the governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, stated that artificial intelligence will not lead to mass unemployment, but humans and AI can work harmoniously.

This assertion is made in the face of increasing AI investments, as nearly a third of companies have significantly improved their performance over the past year. As an economic historian who has turned into a central banker, Bailey is optimistic about the adaptive power of economies and job markets to technological evolution.

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A call for optimism and adaptation

The latest economic analyses support Bailey’s view that automation and AI are critical factors in handling recruitment and labor costs, with the UK having a tight labor market. This view is mirrored in the House of Lords’ Communications and Digital Committee, which recommends focusing on how AI can provide positive outcomes. They warn against letting dystopia eclipse the possible advantages of these technologies.

Baroness Stowell, committee chair, warned that fears about existential risks may stop Britain from reaping benefits from the AI gold rush. She said some apocalyptic warnings about AI might be exaggerated and could get on the way to progress.

“We need to address risks in order to be able to take advantage of the opportunities… We must avoid the UK missing out on a potential AI goldrush.”

The report of the committee, explicitly highlighting LLMs such as ChatGPT and their role in AI-enabled growth for both technological and economic reasons, has highlighted how important it is to adopt AI on a national level. Despite fears of job displacement and the dangers that could be existential to their very existence, The Lord’s Committee supports a middle-of-the-road approach where regulation allows innovations without compromising safety or ethics.

Navigating the challenges: copyright and safety

The discourse on AI also encompasses controversial issues like copyright, where LLMs are in the middle of legal battles over the unauthorized use of digital content. The case of Getty Images suing Stability AI in 2019 reflects that there are no clear guidelines on copyrights at this age. The Lords Committee recommends governmental intervention, whereby the developers of LLMs should not take advantage of rights holders without proper authorization.

In addition, the UK’s leadership in organizing the world’s first AI safety summit reflects its priority to manage the risks of AI while fostering innovation. Nevertheless, the warning by Baroness Stowell against the UK being labeled as “the safety people” throws light on this complex balance between ensuring safety and encouraging the development of AI technologies.

“No expert on safety is going to be credible if we are not at the same time developers and part of the real vanguard of promoting and creating progress on this technology.”

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology response to the Lords Committee report shows that the UK is a pacesetter in AI research and development. Thus, by highlighting AI’s potential to transform health care and education as well as boost business development, the government guarantees that it will be innovative but secure. This also includes massive investments in safety research and a proactive stance on AI regulation.

“We do not accept this; the UK is a clear leader in AI research and development, and as a government, we are already backing AI’s boundless potential to improve lives.”

The road ahead

The pivotal question remains: How can the UK walk that fine line between reaping AI’s full benefits and addressing its risks? As implied by the Lord’s Committee’s report and government responses, the answer is a compromise between modernizing technology and setting up adequate safety and ethical guidelines. With such an approach, the UK can be at the vanguard of AI development, attracting jobs and investments while ensuring that these technologies improve rather than threaten human lives.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.