IDS at UK Party Conferences

20 September 2017

As the 2017 political party conference season gets underway in the UK, IDS is convening fringe events at the Labour and Conservative conferences on a global issue that could affect all of us as technology keeps advancing – the future of work.

Robot directing traffic in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Image credit: Brian Sokol / Panos

IDS’ Digital and Technology Cluster have been examining the impact that advances in digital technology and artificial intelligence are having globally on the future of decent work. With self-driving trucks due to be tested on UK roads in 2018 and some already being piloted in the US where around three million people are employed as truck drivers, and 89 per cent of call centre jobs at potential risk from automation in the Philippines, it is a universal development issue.

Events at the Labour Party Conference Fringe in Brighton on the 24 September and the Conservative Party Conference Fringe in Manchester on the 1 October will discuss the implications that automation and digital technology could have for the UK Government and the UN Global Goals, as well as its impact on gender inequalities.

Professor Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies, who will be speaking at the Conservative Party Conference Fringe event says:  “New technologies present amazing opportunities for innovation and efficiency, but their disruptive nature also poses a threat to many workers around the world, particularly for women in some of the poorest countries whose jobs could be most at risk. 

“Political leaders urgently need to put policies in place to prepare for the huge changes increased automation and AI will bring. They also need to address the widening digital inequalities and skills gaps that exist for many women and for vulnerable groups around the world, who are at risk of being left behind as this fourth industrial revolution takes hold.”

Register to attend the Labour Party Conference Fringe event or the Conservative Party Conference Fringe event. Please note that a conference pass is required to gain access to the event at the Labour Conference Fringe event as it is being held within the conference secure zone. 

Read the IDS Digital and Technology briefing Decent work in a Digital World and the IDS press release Women set to lose out most from automation of jobs, with poorest bearing the brunt