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University academic contributes to Government Inquiry on the future of work and automation

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An investigation by the Government into how robots may affect people’s job prospects in the U.K has seen MPs turn to a University of West London (UWL) lecturer for expert advice.

Dr Helen Hester, Associate Professor of Media and Communications at the London School of Film, Media and Design, addressed a Committee from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Inquiry into the future of work, at the Royal Society last week.

The Members of Parliament wanted to hear from Dr Hester about the potential impact of automation – where machines perform jobs traditionally done by people – upon female and ethnic minority workers.

Dr Hester delivered a presentation about gender, technology and work, including how automation may affect men and women differently and also the ways in which the march of technology could be about to transform personal care jobs. She also shared research carried out at UWL into how digital products can perpetuate gender and racial biases in the way they are designed.

Dr Hester said: ‘It was a privilege to be invited to speak with policy decision makers about the issues I am currently researching at the University of West London. The changing character of work presents both risks and opportunities, and it is essential that academics contribute to the debates. The University has resources which are valuable for investigating important issues like these, which influence the society we live in.’

Members of Parliament consulted seven experts on a range of subjects at the Royal Society. The aim was to explore issues which might be raised by the changing nature of work, by drawing on expert insights into the impact upon society of advances in technology, intelligent machines and economic and social forces.

Dr Helen Hester at the Royal Society

Find out more about the London School of Film, Media and Design. Check out the School on Twitter:  @UWL_LSFMD