Employment laws must evolve to keep up with the rise of robots


Employment laws must keep up with technological advances in the workplace and address the issue of robots taking over jobs done by humans, according to a new report.

The 120-page document from the International Bar Association said advances in artificial intelligence and robotics could see a third of graduate jobs replaced by machines, and that a new legal framework should be developed to address this.

Lead author and vice-chair of the IBA’s global employment institute, Gerlind Wisskirchen, said: ‘Jobs at all levels in society presently undertaken by humans are at risk of being reassigned to robots or AI [artificial intelligence], and the legislation once in place to protect the rights of human workers may be no longer fit for purpose.’

She added: ‘New labour and employment legislation is urgently needed to keep pace with increased automation.’

The report said that increased innovation will force governments to consider legislating for quotas of human workers in some sectors, as well as introducing a ‘made by humans’ label or taxing the use of machines.

Lawyers were among the roles that the report suggested are at risk from automation. It cited a report from auditors, Deloitte, which predicted that 100,000 jobs in the legal sector will be automated in the next 20 years.

It said technology will also force other legal changes, like who is responsible for accidents caused by driverless cars.

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