The country’s National Risk Assessment (NRA) for 2016 stated that we were at “a crucial point” in the development of artificial intelligence and robotics.
It said that advances in the internet of things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, energy storage and quantum computing among others technologies “may transform the lives of everyone”.
“These transformations wrought by these and other technological developments may mean that some businesses and products could become obsolete relatively quickly.
“Successor businesses will obviously arise but the risk is that these will be less dependent on human labour than before,” the report said.
The NRA, which is commissioned annually by the Government to highlight areas where policymakers should pay special attention, points to research compiled by the OECD earlier this year which calculated that almost one-in-10 jobs could be at risk from technology.
“The research concludes on the ‘need to focus more on the potential inequalities and requirements for (re)training arising from technological change rather than the general threat of unemployment that technological progress might or might not cause’,” it said.
The report said the risk arising from current technological trends “is that people may be displaced from their current employment positions and may not be able to access adequate alternatives”.As an example it gives the case of Kodak, which went into bankruptcy as a result of being unable to compete with Instagram. At its height, Kodak employed 145,000 workers, whereas Instagram employs fewer than 5,000.