Download publication

External Publication

The impact of artificial intelligence on employment

Technological development, and in particular digitalisation, has major implications for labour markets. Assessing its impact will be crucial for developing policies that promote efficient labour markets for the benefit of workers, employers and societies as a whole.

By: Date: July 31, 2018 Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy

This contribution is a chapter of the book Work in the Digital Age, from the Policy Network, published by Rowman & Littlefield International Ltd.

Looking at the labour displacement and productivity effects of AI on employment, the author argues that middle-level jobs that require routine manual and cognitive skilled are the ones that are most at risk. In the long run, initial labour displacement effects of jobs with routinised manual or cognitive skills, as in previous industrial revolutions, will be compensated for by the growth in non-routine jobs at the high and low end of the economy.

However, the speed of change today is significantly faster than it was in the past. The author focuses on the growth of machine learning and improved machine performance and explains how these advancements are produced through the development of socalled ‘deep neural networks’ that are inspired by the architecture of the human brain. Although these are still very far from achieving the level of complexity associated with the human brain, on very specific tasks machines have outperformed humans.

The author draws attention to the nexus between what is possible, and which firms will be willing to invest to implement these technologies. The introduction of multifunctional robots has been most extensive in the EU, followed by the US and China. The sectors that have adopted these with the greatest enthusiasm include car production, and plastic and chemical production, where job displacement effects will be felt the most.

Policymakers will need to develop a framework of rules for the operation of machines and AI systems. This should involve collective consultation with affected parties and experts, and a comprehensive debate on the regulation of the liability, safety, security and privacy of these technologies, alongside the updating of relevant skills and training programmes working with these new technologies.

View comments
Read about event

Upcoming Event

Sep
3-4
08:30

Bruegel Annual Meetings 2018

The 2018 Annual Meetings will be held on 3-4 September and will feature sessions on European and global economic governance, as well as finance, energy and innovation.

Speakers: Maria Åsenius, Richard E. Baldwin, Carl Bildt, Maria Demertzis, Lowri Evans, Mariya Gabriel, Péter Kaderják, Joanne Kellermann, Jörg Kukies, Emmanuel Lagarrigue, Philippe Lespinard, Montserrat Mir Roca, Dominique Moïsi, Jean Pierre Mustier, Ana Palacio, Jean Pisani-Ferry, Lucrezia Reichlin, Norbert Röttgen, André Sapir, Jean-Claude Trichet, Johan Van Overtveldt, Martin Sandbu, Margrethe Vestager, Reinhilde Veugelers, Thomas Wieser, Guntram B. Wolff and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation, Global Economics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Brussels Comic Strip Museum, Rue des Sables 20, 1000 Brussels
Read article Download PDF

External Publication

Export and patent specialization in low carbon technologies

The low-carbon technology sector is going through a period of disruptive innovation and strongly increased investment, which is likely to continue. Global investment in new renewable power is the largest area of electricity spending. The political momentum to combat climate change was reinforced in the Paris Agreement, when almost every country in the world agreed to aim for carbon neutrality in the second half of the century.

By: Robert Kalcik and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate, Innovation & Competition Policy Date: August 7, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Italy's "Dignity Decree"

The new Italian government pushed through its first legislative act including elements of labour market reform. Presented as an overturn of the previous government’s “Jobs Act”, the estimated effects of the decree are controversial. We review Italian economists’ view on the matter.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: July 23, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Should we revisit the patent system for pharmaceutical products?

Analysis of the legal issues with the current IP system for regulated market authorisations for pharmaceutical products, as well as its economic effects.

Speakers: Arno Hartmann, Christian Jervelund, Margaret K. Kyle, Roberto Romandini, Bruno van Pottelsberghe, Amaryllis Verhoeven and Reinhilde Veugelers Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: July 9, 2018
Read article More by this author

Parliamentary Testimony

European Parliament

The potential impact of Brexit on ICT policy

Testimony before the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: European Parliament, Innovation & Competition Policy, Testimonies Date: June 27, 2018
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Robots, ICT and EU employment

Disruptive technologies based on ICT, robots, and artificial intelligence have transformed labour markets through their important effects on employment. As the number of industrial robots continues to rise, our results imply that some measures to facilitate workforce transition and accommodate the rise of automation might be needed to maintain satisfactory labour market outcomes.

By: David Pichler, Georgios Petropoulos and Francesco Chiacchio Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: June 15, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Misinformation & missing information: a fix for fake news

This event hosted Professor Marshall van Alstyne who presented his research on fake news and on the potential solutions of the associated problems. A panel discussed the routes of the fake news problem and how we can design an effective policy response.

Speakers: Marshall Van Alstyne, Anni Hellman, Thomas Myrup Kristensen, Efi Koutsokosta and Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 8, 2018
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

The European automotive sector: future challenges and opportunities

On 6 June Bruegel is organising a closed-door brainstorming workshop on: The European automotive sector: future challenges and opportunities.

Speakers: Simone Tagliapietra, Reinhilde Veugelers, Stefan Deix and Giovanni Coppola Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: June 6, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Podcast

Podcast

Robots: Positive or negative for EU employment?

Bruegel research fellow Georgios Petropoulos features in this episode of ‘The Sound of Economics’ to discuss a study he has co-authored on the impact of robotisation on employment in Europe.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: May 29, 2018
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Working Paper

How big is China’s digital economy?

The rise of influential Chinese digital giants, including Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi has shown the world that China is a global leader in digital innovation and it is not surprising that China has started to influence the global digital market. But is China exploiting its full potential in this area? To answer this question, the authors assess how big China’s digital economy is relative to the rest of its economy, and how China performs compared to the rest of the world.

By: Alicia García-Herrero and Jianwei Xu Topic: Global Economics & Governance Date: May 17, 2018
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

Youth up Europe: The future of work: towards safeguarding young people's rights in the era of increased digitisation

This event will discuss what impact digitisation will have on the employment opportunities for young people and how we can safeguard their rights.

Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Innovation & Competition Policy Location: Av. Rei Humberto II de Itália, 2750-642 Cascais Date: May 10, 2018
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

How e-commerce reshapes markets and firms’ strategies

The development of e-commerce has affected both demand and supply fundamentals of markets, changing the way competition works. In the effort to develop a frictionless and welfare maximizing digital single market across the EU, it is necessary to carefully review the disruptive forces on e-commerce on markets and firms’ strategies.

By: Georgios Petropoulos Topic: Innovation & Competition Policy Date: May 7, 2018
Load more posts