Will robots really take our jobs? AI and the future economy.

Held on Thursday, September 14, 2017.


  • Birgitte Andersen (Big Innovation Centre)

  • Calum Chace

  • Kenneth Cukier (The Economist)

  • John Hawksworth (PwC)

  • Charles Radclyffe (Deutsche Bank Labs)



Four years ago, Carl Frey and Michael Osborne of the University of Oxford’s Martin School estimated that 47% of all US jobs were at high risk of automation over “perhaps a decade or two”, thanks to computerisation.

That attracted some attention. Since then, some experts have become a little more optimistic about the impact of AI: PwC has estimated that AI (and related automation) could displace up to 30% of UK jobs by the early 2030s, but also create many new jobs as well as boosting GDP by up to 10%.  

But whatever the long-term benefits to GDP, such technological changes could cause major disruption to labour markets if they materialise. They might also widen income disparities between digital winners and losers, as well as challenging many existing business models.

There are big “ifs” around any such projections (and some question marks over what we mean by “AI” – which is often just a fancy term for automation). Nonetheless, the ongoing information revolution and what it could mean for the UK is an important topic. I am, therefore, pleased to welcome a distinguished panel of experts to tell us where they think we’re headed:

  • Birgitte Andersen is CEO and co-founder of the Big Innovation Centre, Professor of the Economics and Management of Innovation at Birkbeck, and recently rapporteur for the EU expert group on Knowledge Transfer and Open Innovation.
  • Calum Chace is the author of Surviving AI and The Economic Singularity, a frequent speaker on the topic, and a career technology consultant.
  • Kenneth Cukier is senior editor for digital at The Economist, and co-author of Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think.
  • John Hawksworth is UK chief economist at PwC and editor of its Economic Outlook publications.
  • Charles Radclylffe is a senior innovation specialist at Deutsche Bank Labs, technology entrepreneur and Visiting Fellow at University of Bristol.

If you (or a colleague) would like to add your own insights – or just listen to what is bound to be a thought-provoking discussion – please let us know by emailing alex@csfi.org or by calling the office on 020 7621 1056. As usual, wine and sandwiches will be provided.

Many thanks,

Andrew Hilton