Robots could soon replace thousands of public sector jobs in the UK. According to a new report by the Reform think tank, almost 250,000 NHS administrators, Whitehall civil servants and receptionists could soon be replaced by AI (artificial intelligence) powered chatbots, saving the UK taxpayers billions, according to reports.
According to the report, around 30% of nurses' activities, including collecting information and administering non-intravenous medication could be automated. Replacing the human workforce with robots could save nearly £2.6bn, Sky News reported.
The report further claimed that around 90,000 NHS administration jobs and 24,000 GP reception jobs could also be automated in a similar manner, saving around £1.7bn. The think tank indicated that even doctors could be similarly impacted, with relatively simple procedures such as administering anaesthesia and analysing radiology scans being relegated to AI powered systems.
The report also highlighted how the revenue and customs department could potentially cut its workforce from 96,000 to 60,000 by boosting online services and incorporating real-time information, which in turn would limit the necessity for direct contact between customers and tax advisors, the Times reported.
The report also suggested that the Department of Work and Pensions could similarly be affected by robotics and AI technology. The department could automatically pay and update social security when responding to any changes in a recipient's work status.
Alexander Hitchcock, co-author of the report, said: "Such a rapid advance in the use of technology may seem controversial, and any job losses must be handled sensitively. But the result would be public services that are better, safer, smarter and more affordable."