Self-learning systems to transform the world of work

Self-learning systems are the key to meeting the increasing requirements of productivity in an ageing society and to preserving prosperity, says Mr Dieter Spath in conclusion of his presentation on 22 January at the Munich School of Philosophy. The presentation by the Co-Chair of the Plattform Lernende Systeme and President of acatech ended the lecture series on the “Opportunities and Risks of Artificial Intelligence”.

“We cannot afford to leave anybody behind if we want to close the demographic gap. Robots, smart machines and software systems will help humans to work more productively”, said Dieter Spath in his talk about the future of work in Germany.

Many monotonous tasks and hard physical work can be automated with the help of artificial intelligence, digital technologies and digital networking. Human beings in factories, businesses or in public authorities will become decision makers who monitor the systems and intervene in complex situations. Artificial intelligence can provide support in particular in accomplishing clerical and administrative tasks, said Mr Spath. The greatest potential for automation is in the hospitality sector, manufacturing and logistics, with figures of 60 percent and more. However, self-learning systems in the health sector professions can also provide support to nursing and medical staff in more than a third of their routine work. This leaves the people working in hospitals and care facilities more time to spend with the patients.

The further spread of digital technologies will make fundamental changes to the world of work. Unskilled and semi-skilled jobs will disappear and new job profiles will emerge. “Streamlining cannot be the only answer to the productivity drive; we must strive instead for new forms of labour based on innovative, or data-driven business models”, continued Mr Spath.

In follow-up to his presentation, Mr Spath took part in a discussion with Mr Johannes Wallacher, President of the Munich School of Philosophy, and others in the audience about the ethical issues associated with the utilization of artificial intelligence. For example: How do we proceed when self-learning systems make what we humans would consider discriminating decisions? Do we need new benchmarks for the evaluation of performance and productivity in the digital working world? The digital transformation to make work processes transparent. How can employers and employees uphold a trusting relationship? By the end of the discussion it was clear that the digital transformation will not happen suddenly, it will happen progressively. And it is a process which must bring everyone on board.

Further information:

Birgit Obermeier / Linda Treugut
Press and Public Relations

Lernende Systeme – Germany's Platform for Artificial Intelligence
Managing Office | c/o acatech
Karolinenplatz 4 | D-80333 Munich

Tel (landline): +49 89 52 03 09-51 /-54
Tel (mobile): +49 172 144 58-39 /-47

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