Think tank reports: as many as 250,000 public sector jobs set to be replaced by AI

Artificially intelligent (AI) chatbots could soon replace up to 90% of the UK government’s administrative staff, saving taxpayers billions and streamlining efficient services.

According to a new report by pro-free market think tank Reform, central government could benefit from reducing its headcount by 131,962; the NHS could lose 91,208 admin staff, and in frontline healthcare 24,000 roles could be substituted for robots.

“Whitehall, the NHS and police can reduce headcount significantly,” the report says.

Public services – the next Uber?

The report has the potential to be immensely controversial. “Public services can become the next Uber, using the gig economy to employ locum doctors and supply teachers,” the Guardian reports a Reform representative as saying.

The NHS is already testing an AI chatbot service, designed to answer medical questions. This service could end up replacing the currently used ‘111’ non-emergency phone number.

Automating repetitive and predictable admin jobs

A different study published by Oxford University and Deloitte last October predicted there is a 77% probability Britain will lose 1.3 million “repetitive and predictable” administrative and operative jobs within 15 years.

The report also singled out public sector jobs such as teachers, social workers and even police officers vulnerable to digital replacements.


Edited from sources by Cecilia Rehn.