Jennifer Van Dale: AI in the Workforce

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Jennifer Van Dale heads the Asia employment law practice of global law firm Eversheds. She has a special interest in technology and how it is transforming society. The long-time Hong Kong resident and member of the American Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors discusses how artificial intelligence (AI), automation and robots will revolutionise the way we work. 

Is automation coming to the workforce, whether we like it or not?
Automation is already here – we just don’t always think of it that way. For example, automatic teller machines (ATM) automated the job that bank tellers used to do in the 1960s. Some types of automation started in the 1700s, and it has been implemented slowly throughout industrial history. What’s changing now is the automation of more complex tasks and the speed at which it’s happening. 

It’s faster and more complex, because in recent years, we’ve made advances in natural language processing (systems that can understand language) and machine learning (systems that can learn from experience). A good example is Siri: if you use it, then you’ll know that it gets better over time. When combined with the low cost of transferring data, these advances create the potential for automation with more complex tasks that, in turn, have a wider application.

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