Global judgements and ideas.
Dr Phoebe V Moore’s report was commissioned by the European Union Agency for Safety and Health at Work EU-OSHA to write the report ‘Artificial Intelligence: Occupational Safety and Health and the Future of Work’.
Dr Moore will launch this new report at the EU-OSHA headquarters in Bilbao, Spain, 14th February, 2019. The University of Leicester launch will be co-hosted by the Leicester Artificial Intelligence Network (LAIN) and the Centre for Philosophy and Political Economy (CPPE), School of Business on 20th February. Wine and canapes will be served.
Date: Wednesday 20/02/19 18.00 hours
Location: Leicester University TBC email Phoebe Moore, pm358 at leicester.ac.uk , for further information.
While there are significant possibilities for workplace progress, and growth in productivity, there are also many ethical questions arising as AI is integrated into workplaces. Significant psychosocial and physical risks for OSH have already been demonstrated across digitalised workplaces. Namely, stress, musculoskeletal difficulties, discrimination, heightened precarisation, and the possibilities for work intensification as well as job losses have been documented (Moore ILO ACTRAV 2018). One Eurobarometer survey indicates that Europeans are concerned about the influence of new technology on employment, where 74% expect more jobs to disappear than appear. 44% of those surveyed stated that an aspect of their own jobs could be done specifically by AI (European Commission 2017). But another recent survey by Gartner (Rayome 2018) of more than 2,700 workers in the US and the UK shows that 52 per cent of those surveyed would prefer AI in the workplace that would serve as an on-demand helper rather than as a manager, co-worker or proactive assistant. Indeed, AI taking the place of a physical boss could bring new sources of psychosocial hazards (Stacey et al, 90). But, if applied in appropriate ways, workers think that AI could improve safety, help reduce mistakes and limit routine work (Rayome 2018).
Moore’s new EU-OSHA Report shows that AI can both benefit workers tremendously and potentially exacerbate already evidenced risks, as well as create new risks, through giving more authority to AI augmented computation, prediction machines, robotics and algorithmic processes. However, it is not technology in isolation which creates benefits or risks for workers. It is instead the implementation of technology which creates negative or positive conditions. In that light, the Report discusses the implementations of AI enhanced technologies, discussing how they function and could become even more functional. As AI in the workplace is a relatively new area of experimentation, and companies usually do not publicly share details of internal trials and practices that incorporate AI, there is little data available indicating exactly how much and where it is being used. The data and reporting that do exist, both about company usage and states’ and corporate investment cited throughout the present report, demonstrates that AI is not simply a fad. Furthermore, trade unions, works councils, safety and health organisations and training bodies have begun to ask a range of ethical and OSH related questions that reflect a significantly different future for work.