Sheffield (The Conversation): BT recently announced that it would be reducing its staff by 55,000, with around 11,000 of these related to the use of artificial intelligence (AI). The remainder of the cuts were due to business efficiencies, such as replacing copper cables with more reliable fibre optic alternatives.

The point regarding AI raises several questions about its effect on the wider economy: what jobs will be most affected by the technology, how will these changes happen and how will these changes be felt?

The development of technology and its associated impact on job security has been a recurring theme since the industrial revolution. Where mechanisation was once the cause of anxiety about job losses, today it is more capable AI algorithms. But for many or most categories of job, retaining humans will remain vital for the foreseeable future.

The technology behind this current revolution is primarily what is known as a large language model (LLM), which is capable of producing relatively human-like responses to questions. It is the basis for OpenAI's ChatGPT, Google's Bard system and Microsoft's Bing AI.

These are all neural networks: mathematical computing systems crudely modelled on the way nerve cells (neurons) fire in the human brain. These complex neural networks are trained on or familiarised with text, often sourced from the internet.

The training process enables a user to ask a question in conversational language and for the algorithm to break the question down into components. These components are then processed to generate a response that is appropriate to the question asked.

The result is a system that's able to provide sensible sounding answers to any question it gets asked. The implications are more wide-ranging than they might seem.

Humans in the loop

In the same way that GPS navigation for a driver can replace the need for them to know a route, AI provides an opportunity for workers to have all the information they need at their fingertips, without "Googling".

Effectively, it removes humans from the loop, meaning any situation where a person's job involves looking up an item and making links between them could be at risk. The most obvious example here is call centre jobs.

However, it remains possible that members of the public would not accept an AI solving their problems, even if call waiting times became much shorter.

Any manual job has a very remote risk of replacement. While robotics is becoming more capable and dexterous, it operates in highly constrained environments. It relies on sensors giving information about the world and then making decisions on this imperfect data.

AI isn't ready for this workspace just yet, the world is a messy and uncertain place that adaptable humans excel in. Plumbers, electricians and complex jobs in manufacturing for example, automotive or aircraft face little or no competition in the long-term.

However, AI's true impact is likely to be felt in terms of efficiency savings rather than outright job replacement. The technology is likely to find quick traction as an assistant to humans. This is already happening, especially in domains such as software development.

Rather than using Google to find out how to write a particular piece of code, it's much more efficient to ask ChatGPT. The solution that comes back can be tailored strictly to a person's requirements, delivered efficiently and without unnecessary detail.

Safety-critical systems

This type of application will become more commonplace as future AI tools become true intelligent assistants. Whether companies use this as an excuse to look to reduce workforces becomes dependent on their workload.

As the UK is suffering a shortage of Stem (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates, especially in disciplines such as engineering, it's unlikely that there will be a loss of jobs in this area, just a more efficient manner of tackling the current workload.

This relies on staff making the most of the opportunities that the technology affords. Naturally, there will always be scepticism, and the adoption of AI into the development of safety-critical systems, such as medicine, will take a considerable amount of time. This is because trust in the developer is key, and the simplest way that it develops is through having a human at the heart of the process.

This is critical, as these LLMs are trained using the internet, so biases and errors are woven in. These can arise accidentally, for example, through a person to a particular event simply because they share the same name as someone else. More seriously, they may also occur through malicious intent, deliberately allowing training data to be presented that is wrong or even intentionally misleading.

Cybersecurity becomes an increasing concern as systems become more networked, as does the source of data used to build the AI. LLMs rely on open information as a building block that is refined by interaction. This raises the possibility of new methods for attacking systems by creating deliberate falsehoods.

For example, hackers could create malicious sites and put them in places where they are likely to be picked up by an AI chatbot. Because of the requirement to train the systems on lots of data, it's difficult to verify everything is correct.

This means that, as workers, we need to look to harness the capability of AI systems and use them to their full potential. This means always questioning what we receive from them, rather than just trusting their output blindly. This period brings to mind the early days of GPS, when the systems often led users down roads unsuitable for their vehicles.

If we apply a sceptical mindset to how we use this new tool, we'll maximise its capability while simultaneously growing the workforce as we've seen through all the previous industrial revolutions.

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Bengaluru, Jun 10: A division bench of the Dharward Bench of the High Court of Karnataka has confirmed the death sentence on a man who killed five persons including his three minor children.

The HC has also issued several directions to the prosecution in cases where it is seeking the death penalty.

"The atrocity of the crime resulting in five deaths including 3 children below 10 years of age and the brutality with which the same has been committed, leaves us no option but to confirm the order of death sentence passed by the trial court, which we do with a heavy heart.

This in our considered opinion qualifies the test of rarest of rare cases requiring the award of death penalty," the bench of Justice Suraj Govindaraj and Justice G Basavaraja said disposing of two petitions filed by the convict and the State.

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The HC had reserved the judgement on the petitions after completing the hearing on November 22, 2022 itself. But it had sought several pieces of information including certain records and reports.

These records, the court said were necessary to issue directions to be followed in all cases where the prosecution seeks for award of the death penalty.

The accused Byluru Thippaiah, a labourer from Kenchanagudda Halli in Kampli, Hosapete, Ballari, suspected his wife of 12 years was having an affair which led to quarrels.

They had four children, and Thippaiah declared that only one of them was born to him. On February 25, 2017, he attacked his wife, Pakkeeramma with a chopper.

He also attacked his sister-in-law Gangamma and his children Pavithra, Nagaraj and Rajappa. All the five succumbed to their injuries.

The Sessions Court at Ballari which conducted the trial against him, examined 36 witnesses and 51 material objects before finding him guilty and awarded the death sentence on December 3, 2019 under Section 302 (murder) of the IPC and directed him "to be hung till death.".

Thippaiah approached the HC against the sentence imposed by the Trial Court while the prosecution approached the HC for confirmation of the death penalty.

The HC in its judgment said that it was shocked at the brutality.

"The manner in which the offence has been committed by the appellant is having attacked two women and three children in the house, hacked them and chopped them resulting in multiple injuries being caused to them and the Appellant coming out of the house and proclaiming that he has killed the prostitutes while holding chopper covered in blood. The same would shock the conscience of anybody and has indeed shocked our conscience, despite us having dealt with so many cases of offences relating to murder," the HC said.

The HC while confirming the death sentence, ordered for payment of compensation to Rajeshwari, the only child that survived the massacre.

The Additional Registrar was directed to forward the concerned file to the District Legal Service Authority to make necessary arrangements.

The HC also gave guidelines for the prosecution to follow in all cases where it is seeking the award of the death penalty.

These include placing report on the conduct and behavior of the accused in jail, a psychological and physiological evaluation of accused, details of family background, relationship with siblings, history of violence or neglect, opinion of parents, relationship with family members, educational background, socio-economic background, criminal antecedents and history of social behaviour.

"The above reports to be submitted firstly at the time when the Appellant is committed to trial, a second report, at the time of hearing on sentence if the Appellant were to be convicted, third report at the time when the appeal is heard and the matter is reserved for judgment," the HC directed.

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