Responding to the warning from Andy Haldene, the Bank of England’s chief economist, that artificial intelligence and machines could make thousands of UK jobs obsolete, Molly, who is Green Party speaker on economics and finance, said:
“It is pointless trying to defend the jobs of a pre-automation era. Artificial intelligence is happening, and it demands an intelligent response. We need to restructure our economy and society to cope with the changes that will inevitably take place.
“Previous revolutions in automation have allowed machines to displace people and the additional profits to accrue to a tiny elite. This time we need to capture the value of automation and use it to fund additional leisure.
“We can use new technologies to reduce stress and improve our wellbeing and health through increased leisure time, spending more time with our family and friends, and developing our talents and passions. But if we are to avoid automation increasing poverty and inequality, we will need to be much more creative in the way we reward, not only work in the traditional sense, but also voluntary activities, caring for others and creative activities.
“Greens believe that a Citizens’ Income – a guaranteed payment made to all – will provide the new flexibility that our emerging work market demands. Greens have also suggested exploring the idea of a shorter working week.”
“As is common with the emerging challenges of the 21st century, the EU is ahead of the game; it is tragic we propose to sever ourselves from Europe when so much has already been done in considering the future of work.”
Warnings about the challenges posed by increased automation come as new figures reveal that two parents working full time on the minimum wage do not earn enough for an ‘acceptable standard of living’. Molly concluded:
“It’s time for a work revolution to reduce stress and poverty and increase health and welfare. This must include a proper living wage, a citizens’ income, shorter working hours and more leisure time.”