Sir Keir Starmer has vowed not to allow Artificial Intelligence (AI) cause a repeat of widespread job losses seen during Margaret Thatcher’s deindustrialisation of the 1980s.

Writing for The Independent, the Labour leader insisted that AI “must work for working people” – pledging a revolution in skills and training so Britain to avoid a major spike in employment.

“We must also learn from the deindustrialisation of the 80s and tech revolution of the 90s, a time when manual and clerical jobs were being automated or sent abroad to be done in other countries,” said Sir Keir.

Read: We must not let AI cause a repeat of 1980s job losses

“The Conservative government let down entire communities, standing back while millions of them lost their jobs, rather than supporting workers through the transition. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again.”

The Labour leader – who will offer his own vision for how to address fast-paced changes at a tech conference on Tuesday – said AI could be “both a tool and a threat”.

Rishi Sunak’s AI adviser Matt Clifford has warned that AI it could become powerful enough to “kill many humans” in only two years’ time.

Despite fears the fast-changing tech could run out of control, Sir Keir insisted that AI can still be “steered in the direction of prosperity, security and safety”.

He vowed that Labour would offer “an active, mission-driven government, steering the development of AI to ensure it benefits working people”.

Rishi Sunak has warned against the risks posed by AI

(PA Wire)

Mr Sunak used a trip to the US last week to announce that the UK will host the first global summit on AI safety in the autumn. But experts have warned that Britain is lagging behind the field.

The Tory PM told the London Tech Conference on Monday that the “extraordinary” possibility of AI advances must be carried out “safely” as he again positioned Britain as a potential home of a global regulator.

However, Sir Keir accused the government of playing “catch up” on major developments in AI, arguing its white paper on the subject was already out of date.

The Labour leader added: “A hands-off approach in the formative years of AI would be the surest route to disaster. Strategic, agile leadership is needed in what is a fast-moving situation. That is the leadership I intend to provide.”

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