The future of work: Mental health, psychology and the value and threat of artificial intelligence.

John Innes (Speaker), Morrison, B. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


The pandemic of COVID-19 in 2020 has exposed many issues which have existed in latent form in the world of work for many years. These include the quality of achieving a work/life balance, the nature of communication, management and decision making in the workplace and the achievement of employment and promotion in the workplace, exposed by the imperative to work from home and communicate by the internet. The pathological consequences of work, in the form of anxiety, depression and feelings of isolation and solitude have also been revealed. The pervasive influences of changes in technology, manifest not only in communication and the internet, but also the threats to the very existence of many jobs from the predations of developments in artificial intelligence (AI) become clearer when placed under the stress of the infection. Amid these strains the beneficent role of psychology as a prophylactic, in work and in mental ill-health is recognised. The professional psychologist can proffer diagnoses and solutions to the experience of stress in the home and the workplace, secure in the knowledge that the job of the psychologist is immune from the threats of AI that is so apparent in other jobs. In this paper we analyse the job of the professional psychologist to demonstrate that far from being immune to the impact of AI, that the job has evolved to a position whereby many of its prominent aspects can be performed by deep learning machines. The interventions that will be used in the workplace in the future will be ever more dependent upon automated procedures. Jobs with “soft skills” will become replaceable and rarer. Government, the education system, at all levels from primary to tertiary and the professional bodies need to plan for a future that embraces machines and adjust to the consequences, both good and bad.
Period14 Sep 2021
Event titleWorkplace Mental Health Symposium
Event typeConference