Innovation in artificial intelligence and robotics could force governments to legislate for quotas of human workers, upend traditional working practices and pose novel dilemmas for insuring driverless cars, according to a report by the International Bar Association, The Guardian reports. 

The survey, which suggests that a third of graduate level jobs around the world may eventually be replaced by machines or software, warns that legal frameworks regulating employment and safety are becoming rapidly outdated.

The competitive advantage of poorer, emerging economies – based on cheaper workforces – will soon be eroded as robot production lines and intelligent computer systems undercut the cost of human endeavour, the study suggests.

While a German car worker costs more than €40 (£34) an hour, a robot costs between only €5 and €8 per hour. “A production robot is thus cheaper than a worker in China,” the report notes. Nor does a robot “become ill, have children or go on strike and [it] is not entitled to annual leave”.

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