The real threat is not AI but bad education

The real threat to our developed world status is a culture of low expectations and monolithic business models

Jeremy Warner raises an interesting dichotomy regarding the future of the workforce as technology gathers pace (The challenges of a no-deal Brexit are as nothing compared with those of Artificial Intelligence) but it doesn’t have to be doom and gloom – unless we let it.

Andy Haldane’s warnings of massive displacement of workers may well happen if we continue to allow the arrogance which has dictated traditional business models here in the West. Members of the governing class continue to think with the ‘too big to fail’ attitude which caused so much hardship after the financial crash of the last decade when the market decided it was right and it wasn’t going to change. Due to the systemic risk exposure in our financial system, they were bailed out and if lessons were learned, they did not change business practises.

It is that same attitude which does indeed put us in jeopardy from technological developments including AI: the development of the next generation goes by the wayside as we are satisfied with poor literacy and numeracy and an ‘all must have prizes’ attitude. Meanwhile, in the emerging world, their peers are learning to code, learning to build apps and setting themselves up with the skills to be the business leaders of the future.

If we look at the Indian entrepreneurs Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati who established Ola, the rival to Uber which launched in the UK this month, we can see they aren’t even waiting much beyond leaving school to leave their mark.

We, in the meantime, think that our ‘unskilled masses’: the ones who serve us in shops or clean our cars and who need ‘in work benefits’ from the state because we tax their minimum wage salary – can be kept happy with a few carrots and the occasional threat of a stick.

But now tech is going to burst the failing model of low expectations and monolithic cultures open unless we change our attitudes and reform education and training.

That is the revolution we need to bring to Britain if we are to make a success of technology and ensure we remain a developed nation.

Yours faithfully
Andrew Bird
CEO GSMarketplace