The present wave of automation, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) – the development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence – is creating a gap between current legislation and new laws necessary for an emerging workplace reality, states a report published today by the International Bar Association Global Employment Institute (IBA GEI).
Certainly, technological revolution is not new, but in past times it has been gradual. What is new about the present revolution is the alacrity with which change is occurring, and the broadness of impact being brought about by AI and robotics. Jobs at all levels in society presently undertaken by humans are at risk of being reassigned to robots or AI, and the legislation once in place to protect the rights of human workers may be no longer fit for purpose, in some cases. The AI phenomenon is on an exponential curve, while legislation is doing its best on an incremental basis. New labour and employment legislation is urgently needed to keep pace with increased automation.
Dr Gerlind Wisskirchen, Partner, CMS; IBA GEI Vice Chair for Multinationals and coordinator of the report
Titled Artificial Intelligence and Robotics and Their Impact on the Workplace, the 120-page comprehensive report focuses on potential future trends of AI, and the likely impact intelligent systems will have on: the labour market, the structures of companies, employees’ working time, remuneration and the working environment. In addition to illustrating the thread and importance of law in relation to these areas, the GEI report assesses the law at different points in the automation cycle – from the developmental stage, when computerisation of an industry begins, to what workers may experience as AI becomes more prevalent, through to issues of responsibility when things go wrong. These components are not examined in isolation, but in the context of economics, business and social environment.