The risks of using AI and robots in the workplace

It’s always ideal for businesses to be planning ahead to try and stay in front of the competition, but how far ahead should you actually plan for? Some business owners may choose to plan in months or a few years in advance. Others may even be thinking further ahead than that, to the point that robots are able to carry out many human tasks.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) predicts that approximately 1.5 million jobs in England alone are likely to become automated in the future. This along with the ever-advancing artificial intelligence (AI) technology has prompted Compare Compensation Claims to create a campaign that looks at the technological issues and safety risks of having robots perform certain jobs. 

Which jobs are likely to be taken over by AI?

Many jobs can be carried out by robots if you think about it. All it takes is some well-detailed programming to ensure that specific tasks are still being performed, and if you program the robot with clear instructions, a human carrying out the role is no longer required.

There is a 73% risk of waiters’ and waitresses’ jobs being taken over by AI, as a robot would be able to take orders and serve food. Supermarket shelf fillers could also see their roles soon taken over by robots, with a 72% risk of this happening. 

Similar to waiters and waitresses, bar staff may also be at risk of losing their jobs to AI with a 71% risk of robots taking drinks orders and serving them. Farmworkers face a 69% risk of having their jobs be overtaken by robots, while for cleaners there is a 68% risk. 

What happens when AI goes wrong?

While it is quite impressive for robots to carry out such tasks, there is always the risk of AI going wrong at some point. For example, if there was a drink spillage in a restaurant, a server would know to clean this up and put a warning sign out for customers to avoid the area. 

A robot, on the other hand, would not be able to recognise this health and safety risk and therefore the customers could end up falling over and injuring themselves. If this were to happen, then the restaurant would be fully responsible for an occupier or liability claim.

If AI were to be used on farms to help operate machinery, there is always a potential risk for fire hazards. A robot wouldn’t know to not use heavy farm machinery around flammable materials like oil, grease, and hay, potentially causing a fire. The farm would then be at risk of being sued for not carrying out the appropriate fire safety checks on their machinery. 

Is AI worth the risk?

While robots and AI do sound thrilling and very futuristic, businesses would need to think about possible public, occupier, and employee liability claims that may come their way should they use this technology in the future and should a safety risk occur. 

There will always be some advantages to using AI, but if it can be damaging to the business, then it may be best to leave the task to a responsible and qualified person instead. 

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