Students confident AI will not replace future jobs

Kelly Jesus standing outside the ARU building in PeterboroughImage source, Emma Baugh/BBC
Image caption,

Law student Kelly Jesus said AI could not replace the people skills you need in the workplace

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Two university students have said they were not too worried about Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing their future jobs.

ARU Peterborough hosted an AI conference on Thursday, which was attended by students, businesses, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts and anyone "simply curious".

The event featured talks about the advances in AI technology, including tools that have come into mainstream use such as ChatGPT and Bing AI.

Student Kelly Jesus said: "Personality is a lot more important [in the workplace], knowing how you’re making somebody feel.... AI doesn't do that."

The AI conference was the first of its kind to take place in Peterborough, where Anglia Ruskin University opened a new city centre campus in 2022.

Tom Williamson, the assistant principal of ARU Peterborough, said it was a "fantastic opportunity" to bring people together in the city.

"As much as we love going down to our neighbours in Cambridge, the opportunity to bring that conversation to Peterborough for the first time makes a real difference in the city," he said.

Mr Williamson said "there will be concerns" about AI among people worried it could replace or change certain jobs.

"I think it's really important this is the early stage in this conversation," he said.

He added: "AI is here, it's coming and it’ll come at pace."

'Personality is important'

Ms Jesus, 19, from Peterborough, who is studying law, attended the summit because she thought it was an "interesting conversation".

She said: "As a law student I've thought about AI a lot, from the perspective of 'can it replace the relationship that lawyers have with their clients?'. I came to the conclusion of 'no'."

Ms Jesus said Peterborough law firms want to know about your personality as well as your skills when hiring.

"It's a given that you know how to do the job, nowadays personality is a lot more important, knowing how you’re making somebody feel.

"Sadly AI doesn't do that."

'Phase us out'

Image source, Emma Baugh/BBC
Image caption,

Computing student Adam Wingell said AI could help with research in his future job

Adam Wingell, 38, from Sleaford, Lincolnshire, who is studying computing, said: "I really don't know what to think about AI.

"I think it could actually just, sort of, phase us out really."

Mr Wingell said AI could help him with research, rather than replace the jobs in the sector he is studying to enter.

He said: "I think it can help give us a broader range of things we can program as well."

Al Kingsley, the chair of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority business board, which helped organise the event, said the summit was a "starting point" for people to learn and find out more.

"Many people and businesses still feel in the dark [but] we're working to support our businesses to innovate and grow," he said.

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