Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Occupations: Comparative Perspectives from the US and the UK
Will robots take over our jobs? This Cornell University and King's College London collaboration examines how artificial intelligence (AI) has influenced major knowledge-intensive services sectors, such as telecommunications and health care -- and how governments, employers and workers have responded to the challenges that smart technologies pose for the world of work.
Taking the United States and the United Kingdom as our case studies, we will explore a wide range of emerging issues and countervailing forces (e.g., public policies, professional associations, vocational training systems, licensing bodies and laws, unions and labor market regulation).
The study aims to be the first to systematically map these issues in the United States and the United Kingdom, with the goal of launching a mixed-methods project that covers a broader set of country cases. In so doing, the collaboration leverages the interdisciplinary expertise of our institutions to inform policy debates at the intersection of AI and work.
The proposed project sets out to achieve four main objectives:
- (i) to commence a dialogue and create a community of scholars with shared interests and complementary expertise who will start exploring potential collaboration from different social science disciplines
- (ii) to provide opportunities for graduatestudents/junior researchers to participate in primary research and scoping studies on these cutting edge topics,benefiting from guidance from senior faculty
- (iii) to exchange knowledge and coordinate research
- (iv) to prepare the ground for a longer-term collaboration in a comparative mixed-methods project.
The proposed project will take a comparative institutional approach, examining the UK and the US as prime examples of Liberal Market Economies (King & Wood, 1999; Grimshaw & Rubery, 2012). The project employs the comparative method because this is one of the advantages of the joint Cornell-KCL teams.
Matched comparisons of work redesign within the same occupational groups will allow us to investigate the effects of key meso-level institutions, including professional norms, collective agreements, and training institutions.
We plan to organize into two teams, with work packages focused on selected occupations in (i) ICT/telecommunications services and (ii) healthcare. This sectoral variation will allow us to examine themoderating impact of the level of professionalization (higher in healthcare) and exposure to market forces(higher in ICT/telecoms sectors).
This research project is funded by King’s College London and Cornell University.