Automation is already claiming UK jobs: study

Research from job search engine Adzuna has found that almost two thirds of the fastest declining job roles in the UK are dropping due to automation. The report, The Start of the Curve, found that 13 of the 20 steepest declines were feeling the effects of increasing automation.

In order to judge the ways in which the job market is changing, the report analysed over 79 million UK job adverts from the previous two years to put together a record of nearly all UK vacancies advertised in that period.

Among the fastest declining roles were pharmacy assistants, travel agents and translators. Perhaps surprisingly, given the creative nature of the work, illustrators and writers also found their way into the top ten occupations in decline.

That’s not to say it’s all bad, however, as the study also noted that advancing technology is serving to create roles in other areas.

“The robots are not just coming, they are here already – in our pockets, workplaces and homes. Automation is already replacing jobs and could be set to replace some roles – like translators and travel agents – entirely. But, at least in the short term, AI advances seem to be creating new jobs just as fast,” said Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna.

“Tech is changing the shape of industries in more complex ways than previously predicted.  For example in the creative and design fields, previously feted as ‘robot-proof’, we are seeing that software and technological tools can help even the most creative of professionals automate tasks, find efficiencies in workflows, and change the way they work.“

Providing context for the study was the 2013 paper by Frey & Osborne, The Future of Employment, which made predictions as to what the coming years of UK jobs would look like. However, while the shifting nature of the job market is notable, Adzuna’s report found that jobs predicted to be extinct in 10-20 years still have some way to go.

Nail technicians, retail security officers and full stack developers all featured in the five fastest growing professions in the UK. As can be seen with the selection, the key drivers for growing roles that Adzuna identified were increases in disposable income spent on services, emerging technologies and rising demand for manual workers.

Notably, the same changing technology that is causing the decline of some roles is attributed to causing 25% of the fastest rising roles. While automation is undoubtedly causing a dent in large chunks of the job market, it’s opening up opportunities to be exploited elsewhere.

“The wave of technological innovation is undoubtedly gathering momentum, and Adzuna analysis suggests this force could well be set to significantly change the shape of the UK job market by 2040” James Neave, head of data science at Adzuna, concluded.

“Although no-one has a crystal ball on this, it looks likely a substantial portion of all desk-based jobs will become automated within the next 25 years.”

China planning to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles

Xin Guobin, China's vice minister of industry and information technology, has said the government is working with regulators to put in place a timetable to end the production and sale of cars powered by fossil fuels. It's hoped the move will accelerate the expansion of the electric car market.

Source: Bloomberg

Limited Tesla Autopilot was "partly to blame" for crash

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that Tesla's Autopilot system was partly to blame for a fatal accident in which a Model S collided with a lorry. The safety board concluded that Tesla allowed the driver to use the system outside of the environment for which it was designed,

Source: BBC

Chelsea Manning warns about the risks of AI

During a conversation at Noisebridge hackerspace, Chelsea Manning commented on some of the inherent risks of AI. "We’re now using huge datasets with all kinds of personal data, that we don’t even know what information we’re putting out there and what it’s getting collected for," Manning said.

Source: Ars Technica

US government bans Kaspersky software from its agencies

The Department of Homeland security has ordered government agencies to stop using software products made by Kaspersky Lab because of possible ties between Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence. The process of discontinuing Kaspersky products is expected to begin within 90 days.

Source: Ars Technica

Hyperloop One selects ten possible routes for the first hyperloop

Hyperloop One has announced that it has selected ten proposed routes for the first hyperloop. The company also announced that it would “commit meaningful business and engineering resources and work closely with each of the winning teams/routes to determine their commercial viability”.

Source: Inverse

Artificial 'skin' gives robotic hand a sense of touch

A team of researchers from the University of Houston has reported a breakthrough in stretchable electronics that can serve as an artificial skin, allowing a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold, while also offering advantages for a wide range of biomedical devices.

Source: Science Daily

The plan to make every surface inside the car of the future smart

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) has revealed a vision for the future of cars where every surface inside the vehicle can become a smart surface.

Launched at the International Auto Show, YFAI’s activeSkin concept will turn the largely decorative surfaces inside cars, including the door trim, floor console and instrument panel, into smart interior surfaces, which YFAI says will be “fully interactive” and could be ready by 2022.

“The future generation of surfaces will be smarter than ever. Just by passing your hand over a upholstered surface of the car will appear an interactive surface or dynamic decorative ambient light. Surfaces interact with us, “says Han Hendriks , YFAI’s chief technology officer.

“This technology is impressive.”

Images courtesy of YFAI

YFAI says its customisable 3D glass surfaces could benefit drivers by replacing some of the current operating elements in traditional cars.

However, If no information is called up by the driver, integrated screens and operating surfaces would remain invisible as purely decorative glass surfaces, so drivers would not be distracted by unnecessary information popping up.

“We offer on-demand functionality, so it will only be visible when you need it. In this way we will be able to customise features on interior surfaces,” said Hendriks. “With activeSkin we can achieve a 3D effect that gives a feeling of amazing depth.”

This isn’t the first time YFAI has tried to predict what cars of the future will be like.

The company’s XiM17 concept car was designed with autonomous driving in mind and helped answer the question, “What will people do in their vehicle, if they no longer have to drive?”

YFAI’s XiM17 allows passengers to switch between a number of different modes to allow passengers a number of different ways of engaging.

For example, in family mode all four seats in the car are positioned facing each other, whereas in meeting mode the rear seats are folded away. so that the driver and passenger seats face each other. and a floor console rises to form a desk.