Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Robot Risk to 81,000 Jobs across Tyneside; AUTOMATION COULD HAVE IMPACT ON ENTIRE UK ECONOMY

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Robot Risk to 81,000 Jobs across Tyneside; AUTOMATION COULD HAVE IMPACT ON ENTIRE UK ECONOMY

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor jon.walker@reachplc.com @jonwalker121

MORE than 64,000 jobs in Newcastle are at "high risk" of being lost to automation, according to research published by Labour MPs.

And working-class occupations will be the hardest hit.

The findings were published by a Labour think tank called Red Shift at an event in the House of Commons.

Research by the House of Commons Library found 2.13 million jobs nationwide are at high risk of automation. This is about a quarter of low paid jobs.

They include 64,355 in Newcastle, as well as 17,629 in the Gateshead constituency.

Red Shift is attempting to spark debate about how to deal with the problem.

Leading members include Liam Byrne, a Labour shadow minister responsible for digital issues, although in this case his proposals are not necessarily Labour policy.

He has suggested ideas including a radical reform of universities. Mr Byrne said: "If what you learn on a three-year degree becomes quickly dated after the moment you leave, then one has to ask why are we offering three-year degrees? "Why not ten-year degrees offered a year at a time every decade of your life?" Other ideas include increasing corporation tax to help pay for a massive re-training programme.

The prospect of increased automation is sometimes called the "rise of the robots", but that's a little misleading.

Most of us would think of a robot as a machine with moving parts. The problem isn't so much that we're getting better at making those - it's that we're getting better at making computer software.

Transportation is an example of an industry that might be affected. The day is approaching when selfdriving vehicles will be a common sight.

Shop workers are also likely to be particularly hard hit.

But even if you can create new jobs to replace the old ones, there's a problem.

Increased automation means increased productivity. Businesses can make more money with fewer staff. …

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