Robots could replace nearly 250,000 public sector workers
The report agues that using websites and artificially intelligent “chat bots” may improve efficiency and save billions of pounds in the economy – but at the expense of British workers.
According to the Reform think tank, 90 per cent of Whitehall administrators – around 130,000 workers in total – could be cut by 2030 and save a staggering £2.6billion each year.
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The report urged departments to follow the example of HMRC
Around 90,000 NHS administration and 24,000 GP receptionist positions could be axed if self-service websites and chat bots are rolled out in the jobs market – a move that would save a further £1.7billion.
The report claims that public sector departments should follow the lead of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which has slashed the number of administrative jobs from 96,000 to 60,000 over the past 10 years.
Even doctors and other frontline jobs could be affected as machines are already proving more effective at diagnosing lung cancer and performing routine operations.
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The report advocates an Uber-style "gig economy" model of workforce, where workers pick up jobs on a daily basis online.
The move could help eliminate agency workers in hospitals or schools and help meet seasonal demands like in HMRC when more workers are needed at the end of the year.
The current workforce is moulded around the “siloed attitudes of yesterday’s Governments and fails to embrace technology and new ways of working to meet users’ needs in the most effective ways.”
Sex robots are also becoming increasingly popular
Such a rapid advance in the use of technology may seem controversial, and any job losses must be handled sensitively
The report added: "A traditionalist mentality fails to cultivate a culture of change: mistakes are covered up, risk-aversion is rife and leaders have not built the workforce around the needs of users.
“That there is one receptionist for every GP should be alarming in a world in which online banking is the norm.”
Alexander Hitchcock, co-author of the report, said: "Such a rapid advance in the use of technology may seem controversial, and any job losses must be handled sensitively.
"But the result would be public services that are better, safer, smarter and more affordable."
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