The public hearing on Tuesday focused on how the labour market can adapt to digitalisation, the emergence of new jobs, and changes at the workplace brought by AI.
You can watch the recording of the debate from this link.
The event was jointly hosted on Tuesday by the Special committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) and the committee on Employment and Social Affairs and in association with Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM).
“I am a firm believer in the digital transition. Novel technologies and especially AI are bound to have a transformative impact on the labour market, but I do not fear for a second that humans will be left out of work,” said AIDA committee Chair Dragoș Tudorache (Renew, RO) on Tuesday.
“Quite to the contrary, I believe that AI and technology will usher in an era of prosperity with plenty of jobs we don’t have today, of increasing yield and quality, just like previous industrial revolutions have changed the labour market for the better,” he said.
“For this to happen, we need to focus on education and digital skills, which, in my view, are not just about preparing for the jobs of the future, but rather geopolitical topics. With the rise of novel, technology-enabled threats and sophisticated attacks to our democracy and values, such as fake news, fake science, disinformation, and election interference, education and critical thinking become paramount in a conversation about the future of our world,” he added.
“Need to constantly adapt and update acquired skills”
“Our key task is to secure skills that are responsive to the rapid changes in the labour market,” said Employment and Social Affairs committee Chair Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (Renew, SK).
“The increased need for digital skills together with the need to constantly adapt and update already acquired skills, implies the need to reform our education systems. In a broader context, we also need to ensure that artificial intelligence works for people and for our societies. We can do that by developing and deploying trustworthy and sustainable AI policies,” she said.
The hearing had two panels each with four invited expert speakers – the first one focussed on the labour market in general and the second on the AI’s impact on the future of skills. Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, Founder of the Why not Lab Christina J. Colclough, Head of unit – Employment Irene Mandl at Eurofound and Valerio De Stefano, Professor of law at KU Leuven discussed AI’s impact on the labour market with AIDA and EMPL Members in the first panel. The second skills themed panel comprised of Ivana Bartoletti, Author of An Artificial Revolution, Editor of the AI Book and Founder, Women Leading in AI Network, Professor and Member of the Hellenic Parliament Christos Tarantilis, Director of Public Policy – Europe, Middle East & Africa Jens-Henrik Jeppesen from Workday, and Catelijne Muller, President of ALLAI, AI-rapporteur for the EESC, (former member) of the High Level Expert Group on AI and member of the OECD network of AI Experts (ONE.AI).
Developments in digital technologies, inclusive of artificial intelligence (AI), are predicted to create both challenges and opportunities for the labour market. New jobs will emerge, and some old ones are likely to disappear. Others see scope for digital technologies in transforming the quality of work. New skills will also be needed in the future. It is important to ensure that the implementation of AI enforces the dialogue between social partners.
European Parliament’s Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) has published studies on these topics – the ones on ‘Digital automation and the future of work’ and ‘Data subjects, digital surveillance, AI and the future of work’ are especially relevant.